Backpacker Magazine Silver Falls State Park, OR: Trail of Ten Falls 

A classic waterfall hike in Silver Falls State Park, the Trail of Ten Falls visits 11 cascades and tours lush forests sprinkled with vibrant wildflowers.

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Author: Backpacker Magazine
Date: 26 Jun 2009 5:05:12 PM
Activity: Hiking
State: Oregon (OR)
Distance: 7.7 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 1834 ft
Total Loss: 1857 ft
Net Change: -23 ft
Difficulty: 3 / 10
USGS Topo Map: Drake Crossing, Elk Prairie
Tags: Oregon, Salem, Silver Falls State Park, Silverton, Waterfall Hikes
Rating:   1 rating(s) Rate it

A waterfall lover's—and photographer's—nirvana, the Trail of Ten Falls features spectacular views above, below, and behind cascades of all shapes and sizes. Start at the South Falls trailhead, near parking lot F and descend the Canyon Trail to a short spur leading to Frenchie Falls. Soon afterwards, the route meets the South Falls junction. Go straight to trek through a cool, dripping cavern behind South Falls, or fork right to switchback down to the bridge below the falls.

On the west side of the canyon, continue along the main trail heading north to Lower South Falls. After traveling behind Lower South Falls, the trail turns northeast and starts following the North Fork Silver Creek. Next, tour four waterfalls in rapid succession: Lower North Falls, Double Falls, Drake Falls, and Middle North Falls. Stop and savor each one for its own unique beauty.

After 3 miles, continue straight on Canyon Trail at the junction with Winter Trail. The next fall is cascading Twin Falls where a fenced area offers limited views. The trail continues another mile up the canyon offering peeks of North Falls, then descends behind the falls into a huge cavern. Enjoy views from all angles.

On the other side of North Falls, ascend to a spur that leads east to Upper North Falls. Take the spur to another gorgeous waterfall spilling into a deep, quiet pool. After a snack and a refreshing dip, start your return on the Rim Trail. At mile 5.2, turn right onto Winter Trail and descend 900 feet to views of wispy Winter Falls. Return to the Rim Trail and head south, then west, through more fir and hemlock forest to return to your starting point.

Note: An extremely popular location during spring and summer weekends, hikers will find more solitude by hiking this loop mid-week.

-Mapped by Eli Boschetto, Bosco Mountain Photo

TO TRAILHEAD: From Salem, OR-22 E to exit 7, OR-214 E for 15 mi. Enter park at toll booth, and continue to South Falls Trailhead at parking area F.

Position Format: Datum:

Silver Falls

Distance: 7.66 mi Points: 444
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Points of Interest


Location: 44.880865, -122.656986
Trail of Ten Falls trailhead.


Location: 44.880923, -122.657520
At the junction of the Canyon and Rim trails, bear left onto Canyon Trail.


Location: 44.880407, -122.658765
Turn right onto the short spur to visit Frenchie Falls.


Location: 44.880696, -122.658068
Frenchie Falls: This small waterfall off the main trail is not included as one of the Ten Falls.


Location: 44.879403, -122.658974
You have 2 options at the South Falls junction. 1. Go straight to take the trail behind the waterfall. 2. Take the right fork to descend to the bridge below the falls.


Location: 44.879403, -122.659929
Cross the bridge below South Falls.


Location: 44.885321, -122.661152
Take in the 93-foot Lower South Falls.


Location: 44.888046, -122.662160
Stay left on Canyon Trail at the junction with Rim Trail.


Location: 44.892143, -122.647226
Peer through the trees for views of the 30-foot Lower North Falls. Note: The access trail to water level is washed out.


Location: 44.891702, -122.646512
Turn left onto the 0.25-mile spur to Double Falls.


Location: 44.891968, -122.645262
Double Falls: Dropping 178 feet, this cascading waterfall is the tallest in the park.


Location: 44.889878, -122.646089
Drake Falls: A platform high above the river offers views of this 27-foot cascade.


Location: 44.889156, -122.643122
Turn right and descend the short spur to pass behind the 106-foot Middle North Falls.


Location: 44.888495, -122.640349
Continue straight on Canyon Trail at the 3-way junction with Winter Trail. Note: To shorten this trip by 3 miles, turn right onto Winter Trail and follow it 0.4 mile to Waypoint 20.


Location: 44.885568, -122.637076
Twin Falls: Protruding rocks split the North Fork Silver Creek to create the 31-foot Twin Falls; limited views.


Location: 44.884930, -122.622399
North Falls: This 136-foot waterfall drops over a cavern.


Location: 44.884420, -122.621745
Continue straight for a 0.8-mile out-and-back to Upper North Falls.


Location: 44.882512, -122.614782
Upper North Falls: Often bypassed by other hikers, this 65-foot waterfall plunges into a deep pool.


Location: 44.883691, -122.627195
North Falls viewpoint: Near the top of the loop, the trail cuts deeply behind this 136-foot "horsetail" waterfall.


Location: 44.884550, -122.639871
Turn right at 3-way onto Winter Trail for a 0.3-mile round-trip to Winter Falls.


Location: 44.884618, -122.640987
Winter Falls: This wispy, 134-foot cascade reaches its peak flow in early spring.


Location: 44.879570, -122.653170
Cross the road and pick up the trail on the other side.


Location: 44.879798, -122.656914
Pass a restroom. The trail continues north back to the trailhead.

Upper North Falls

Location: 44.882512, -122.614653
© Eli Boschetto

Frenchie Falls

Location: 44.880699, -122.658003
© Eli Boschetto

South Falls

Location: 44.879183, -122.659730
Trail loops behind these 177-foot falls for spectacular views.© Eli Boschetto

Columbia Windflower

Location: 44.882087, -122.659382
Delicate white flowers along the Trail of Ten Falls. © Eli Boschetto


Location: 44.885466, -122.661763
Descending the Trail of Ten Falls to Lower South Falls. © Eli Boschetto

Lower South Falls

Location: 44.885401, -122.661029
Hiker on the trail behind Lower South Falls.

Lower North Falls

Location: 44.892151, -122.647065
© Eli Boschetto

Double Cascade

Location: 44.891976, -122.645193
© Eli Boschetto

Drake Falls

Location: 44.889893, -122.645949
© Eli Boschetto

Middle North

Location: 44.889186, -122.643787
© Eli Boschetto

Winter Bridge

Location: 44.888472, -122.640231
Bridge over the North Fork Silver Creek to Winter Falls and Rim Trail. © Eli Boschetto


Location: 44.888411, -122.639995
Sun filtering through the trees along the Winter Trail. © Eli Boschetto

Twin Falls

Location: 44.885553, -122.636755
© Eli Boschetto

North Falls

Location: 44.884937, -122.622260
View from inside the cavern. © Eli Boschetto

North Falls View

Location: 44.883668, -122.626981
© Eli Boschetto

Winter Falls

Location: 44.884626, -122.640912
© Eli Boschetto

Rim Trail

Location: 44.879152, -122.646475
After getting your fill of waterfalls, take a leisurely stroll back to the trailhead through shady woods. © Eli Boschetto

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