Silver Falls State Park and Sahalie Falls

Today, June 16, we visited Silver Falls State Park, located 20 miles east-southeast of Salem and 1 1/2 hour drive from Eugene. The Park is the crown jewel of the Oregon State Parks system, being both Oregon’s largest State Park and boasting one of America’s most impressive waterfall day-hikes, the Trail of Ten Falls, a 7.8 mile loop trail that runs along the banks of Silver Creek and passes by 10 waterfalls. Four of the ten falls have an  amphitheater-like surrounding that allows the trail to pass behind the flow of the falls. We started this hike going in a counterclockwise direction from the Silver Falls Lodge along the rim of the canyon. We entered  a magnificent cathedral-like old-growth forest of towering Douglas firs and hemlocks on a beautiful maintained trail. The first waterfall we came to was the Upper North Falls, 65 feet tall, cascading off a basalt cliff formed by ancient lava flows. We’ve got nine more to go, so we continued along the trail descending a lot of stairs to view the North Falls. At 136 feet tall it is one of the tallest falls in the park, and the huge grotto behind the falls was amazing to walk under. Another mile down the trail we came to a side view of the 31-foot  Twin Falls. Then we took another side trail to view the 134-foot Winter Falls which had a good flow of water still. We stopped on a bench to capture our photo in front of the falls. Returning to the main loop, we headed down the Canyon Trail to pass near the top of Middle North Falls and down the side trail that goes behind the 106-foot high falls and further along the slope to an overhang to get a dramatic view looking back at Middle North Fork Falls framed by mossy maples. So far of all the falls we have seen, this one is our favorite because the cascading water is so close to the trail when you walk behind it. The next waterfall we saw was the view from the wooden platform of the single 27-foot drop Drake Falls, named after the man  who helped make this place a State Park. We took the side trail to view the two-tiered Double Falls, the tallest waterfall in the park at 178 feet.

Back on the trail we continued past a gorgeous look back at 30-foot Lower North Falls.We left the trail and went down to the creek for a nice lunch break before seeing the final two of the ten falls. Then we came to the Lower South Falls, where the creek plunges off of a lava lip in a wide dramatic sheet of water. The trail loops behind the waterfall itself in a large cave-like grotto. After crossing behind the waterfall, we climbed several switchbacks of stairs and continued upstream. Finally, we came to the tenth and most popular waterfall in the park, South Falls, is the second highest waterfall in the park at 177-feet, and it has the highest single drop. The trail crosses behind the waterfall in yet another natural grotto, with a bench inside the grotto to rest and take in the magnificent sight of this waterfall. I can see why this is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon. The trail climbs the side of the canyon with beautiful views looking back at South Falls, we saved the best for last. This hike was definitely the best waterfall hike we have ever done. Click on thumbnail to view images

Silver Falls State Park

Sahalie and Koosah Falls

Sahalie and Koosah Falls are located along the McKenzie River in the Cascade Mountains. Today we visited these two waterfalls, first arriving at the Sahalie Falls viewing platform, close to the parking lot. Sahalie Falls is a mass of foaming white water plunging 100 feet over a natural lava dam. We continued on the 2.6 mile loop trail that connects Koosah and Sahalie Falls. The hike borders the McKenzie River through towering forest. Following the river we passed several small waterfalls flowing down beautiful crystal, clear, turquoise water. We reached Koosah Falls dropping 70 feet into a deep pool, and we were fortunate to see a double rainbow rising out of the pool. We continued along the trail and stopped by the river at a beautiful small pool and waterfall, great place for a pose, Bird of Paradise, in paradise. Then back to the top of Sahalie Falls and a few more photos before heading back to the Jeep. Click on thumbnail to view images