The Trail of Ten Falls is a stunning hiking trail located in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. As its name suggests, the trail showcases ten beautiful waterfalls and picturesque views of lush greenery, moss-covered rocks, and tranquil streams throughout its length. With approximately 7.2 miles long, the well-maintained trail is relatively easy to navigate, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels. The Trail of Ten Falls was one of our favorite waterfall hikes in Oregon, offering so much beauty along this trail. You can even walk behind a giant curtain waterfall which is so much fun! Find in our complete guide all you need to know about the Trail of Ten Falls in Oregon.
Where is the Trail of Ten Falls?
The Trail of Ten Falls is located within Silver Falls State Park, which is situated in the Cascade Range foothills in Oregon, USA. Silver Falls State Park is approximately 26 miles east of Salem, and about 60 miles (an hour and a half) south of Portland, Oregon’s largest city. The park’s address is 20024 Silver Falls Hwy SE, Sublimity, OR 97385.
Where to park for Trail of Ten Falls?
There are several designated parking areas within Silver Falls State Park to access the loop hike. The most commonly used parking area for accessing the Trail of Ten Falls is the South Falls parking lot. This area offers a large parking lot, restroom facilities, a picnic area, nature store and a visitor center.
Additionally, there are parking areas near other entrances to the trail, such as the North Falls Trailhead and the Winter Falls Trailhead. These parking areas have limited facilities compared to the South Falls Day-Use Area but still provide access to the Trail of Ten Falls.
Where is the best place to start the Trail of Ten Falls?
Because the Trail of Ten Falls forms a loop, there are various points where you can start your hike. The two most popular options are either at South Falls, where you’d park in the South Falls Day-Use parking lot, or at North Falls, where you’d park in the smaller North Falls parking lot.
We would recommend starting your hike at the South Falls parking area. This is not only the largest parking area, but is also has the cozy South Falls Lodge for drinks and food before or after the hike.
How long does it take to hike the Trail of Ten Falls?
On average it takes about 4 to 6 hours to complete the full loop trail, but the exact duration of the hike depends on your hiking speed and the amount of time you spend per waterfall.
What is the elevation gain of Trail of Ten Falls?
The Trail of Ten Falls has 800 feet of elevation gain (240 meters) throughout the loop hike. So it’s very easy to manage and doesn’t feel too exhausting.
When is the best time to hike the Trail of Ten Falls?
The Trail of Ten Falls is open year-round, with each season offering its own unique charm. However, the best time to hike the Trail of Ten Falls is typically during the spring, summer, and fall months. During this time the weather is milder, and the waterfalls are at their peak flow due to seasonal rainfall.
Spring and the summer months offer lush greenery and abundant wildflowers, while fall provides stunning foliage colors. In the winter months the hike can be accessed as well and can be in particular very beautiful after snowfall. However, the waterfalls might be less powerful or partly frozen and you should also be prepared for potentially muddy and slippery conditions.
We hiked the trail in autumn and were absolutely blown away by the beauty of the fall colors! Everywhere we saw beautiful yellow, orange and red leaves, adding so much beauty to the, already, stunning waterfalls. However, hiking the Trail of Ten Falls in late summer, or early autumn has a downside in that some waterfalls might dry up or only have a small trickle. So if you’re not afraid of rain, then visiting Silver Falls State Park in the rainy season can be a beautiful experience as well.
Is the Trail of Ten Falls hike worth it?
Yes absolutely! The Trail of Ten Falls is such a beautiful, varied and fun hike in Oregon. The forest is just stunning and everything you can expect from the Pacific Northwest including moss-draped trees and some of the best waterfalls in Oregon. Silver Falls State Park has even been praised as the “Crown Jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system and it’s truly a must-visit on an Oregon road trip.
What is the entrance fee for the Trail of Ten Falls?
The day-use parking fee at Silver Falls State Park is $5 per vehicle. Please note that some parking meters outside the South Falls Day Use Area do not accept cash. If you have a planned visit to Silver Falls State Park, consider purchasing your parking pass online in advance to save time.
If you’re an Oregon local or you’re going on an epic road trip across the state, you may want to invest in a 12-month pass that grants access to all 25 Oregon State Parks with fee requirements.
Trail of Ten Falls hiking description
Now, let’s delve into all the separate waterfalls along the Trail of Ten Falls hike. Each waterfall has unique characteristics in terms of size, appearance, and accessibility, all of which are exceptionally breathtaking.
Whether you plan to hike the entire Trail of Ten Falls loop or only explore a portion, this information will help you planning your journey to Silver Falls State Park.
The great thing is that you can craft your own waterfall itinerary and make the hike as short or long as you like. You can easily admire a waterfall, return to your vehicle, and drive to another trailhead to visit the other waterfalls.
If you plan on hiking the full loop, you need to navigate precisely, otherwise you might end up on the wrong trail. The reason is that there are a bunch of small side trails, and some of them don’t lead to a waterfall, while others do. You can grab a hard copy of the Trail of Ten Falls map at the South Falls trailhead. Otherwise, save this image below so you’ll have it digitally on your phone during the hike.
Waterfalls along the Trail of Ten Falls
1. South Falls
The spectacular South Falls is the first waterfall you will see when starting from the main parking lot at South Falls Day Use Area. The unique feature of this waterfall is that you can walk behind the 177-foot cascading water curtain. A truly unique experience and even one of the best things to do in Oregon.
If you only want to visit the South Falls, then you can walk the short distance of 0.9 miles with 194 ft. of elevation gain from the parking lot to admire the South Falls. Make sure to continue to the wooden bridge at the bottom of the falls so you can see the tallest waterfall of the park in all its glory!
2. Lower South Falls
The Lower South Falls is the next waterfall you encounter when continuing the hike along the Canyon Trail for 0.7 miles. Don’t get confused and end up on the Maple Ridge Trail, because you won’t see any waterfall along this part of the trail. The Lower South Fall is a wide waterfall and one of the four waterfalls that you can walk behind along the Trail of Ten Falls.
3. Lower North Falls
The Lower North Falls is a smaller waterfall just above the North Fork Silver Creek, visible through the dense canopy of Douglas Fir and Maple trees along the trail.
4. Double Falls
Next up is the Double Falls which you can reach on less than 0.1 miles hiking from the Lower North Falls. This short spur trail leads to the tallest waterfall along this trail, Double Falls. However, this is a seasonal waterfall and was pretty much dry when we visited in autumn.
5. Drake Falls
The Drake Falls is the smallest waterfall of all ten falls along this trail at just 27 feet. It’s hard to get a good, clear view of the waterfall from the trail as trees are blocking the view.
6. Middle North Falls
The Middle North Falls are the third waterfall you can walk behind in Silver State Park. This stunning 106 ft plunge waterfall changes drastically depending on the rainfall. It can either be a super wide, 60 feet curtain of water, or a smaller plunge waterfall after weeks of no rainfall.
7. Twin Falls trail
The Twin Falls are the least visited waterfall along the Trail of Ten Falls. The reason is that it’s not the most spectacular waterfall at just 31 feet tall. And it’s a seasonal waterfall, so during the summer months and early autumn, there is not water flow, so its best to visit the Twin Falls in the spring. Otherwise, you can skip a visit to them.
8. North Falls
The North Falls is another must-see waterfall along the trail. This spectacular 136-foot waterfall cascades down basalt columns and has a grotto beneath the falls where you can easily walk behind and admire the stunning canyon. You can also visit this waterfall from the North Falls Trailhead because then it’s only a 0.5-mile walk to the falls.
9. Upper North Falls
The Upper North Falls trail is also best visited from the North Falls Trailhead with only 0.6 miles and 62 feet of elevation gain. It’s a beautiful, small waterfall and one of the quieter sections of the park.
10. Winter Falls
The Winter Falls at 134 feet in height are spectacular if there is water running down. As said before, a few waterfalls along the trail are seasonal. And the Winter Falls is one of them. When we visited in autumn there was almost no water running down, but I can imagine this is a beauty when the waterfall is at its peak flow.
Can you swim at Trail of Ten Falls?
No, swimming is not permitted at the base of the waterfalls along the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park. The currents can be dangerous, and the pools at the base of the falls are often deep and cold. Additionally, there may be hazardous rocks and submerged debris.
Is the Trail of Ten Falls dog-friendly?
If you plan to hike the entire Trail of Ten Falls loop, then it’s best to leave your dog at home. Within the Silver Falls State Park your pet is allowed only on the Rim Trail and Bike Path, both situated along the southern section of the loop. Along the Perimeter Trail dogs are allowed as well, but none of these trails feature waterfalls along their routes. However, there is an off-leash pet exercise area on the South Falls Day Use Area.
Where to stay when visiting the Trail of Ten Falls
Silver Falls State Park is situated close to Silverton, Oregon, approximately 20 miles away from Salem, Oregon. Salem and Silverton would likely be your most convenient option for nearby accommodations.
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I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the Trail of Ten Falls in Oregon. For more USA travel inspiration, head over to our other guides.
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