Now that Spring weather is approaching, this is a good time to plan a day trip to one of Oregon’s most beloved treasures, Silver Falls State Park.
Samuel Boardman, also known as the father of Oregon State Parks, once said Silver Falls State Park can never be “…measured in monetary values for there is no yardstick for computation, neither is there a way to evaluate the spiritual and recreational values.”
With over 9,000 acres of spectacular scenery, Silver Falls State Park is Oregon’s largest state park and a favorite with Salem locals and travelers alike. It’s natural surroundings like farmland, open fields, lush forests, breathtaking waterfalls and views of the Cascade Range make visitors feel as if they have been transported to another world.
“What a beautiful, beautiful destination,” says a recent reviewer on the online travel site, Trip Advisor. “Great place for couples, families, singles! Peaceful and gorgeous!”
There are numerous multi-use bike trails and scenic walking trails for hikers (and non-hikers) of all levels to explore. But it is perhaps the park’s most famous feature, The Trail of Ten Falls, that is most popular with hikers and photographers. This designated National Recreation Trail takes visitors on an eight-mile journey past stunning waterfalls of the north and south forks of Silver Creek including South Falls, a 177-foot cascade.
The spacious lawns and picnic shelters at the South Falls day-use area are perfect for relaxing. Or, enjoy a swim in Silver Creek along a developed (but unsupervised) swimming area.
The drive from the Grand Hotel in Salem itself is an experience that takes you through 20+ miles of scenic countryside featuring expansive wheat fields, vineyards and Christmas tree farms along the North Santiam Highway.
Be sure to bring bottled water, your camera, comfortable shoes, a picnic lunch, and a swim suit for the day use area. We also recommend getting there early when there are fewer people on the trail and better parking options.
Click here for directions and more details.
photo credit: Lower South Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon via photopin (license)