I first went to Silver Falls State Park shortly after I moved to Dallas, Oregon in 2013. It is one of the amazing places to visit in my home state. On this most recent trip, I left around 8 AM and arrived there just over an hour later. The huge main parking lot was already beginning to fill, but I found the #3 spot right at the trailhead that began the journey with a choice of directions. I chose the upper south falls trail.
It was a partly cloudy sky and the trail was damp from the many surface water runoffs. Those of you who have been to the park know that the trail to the south falls winds rather quickly down until you reach the first good viewing point of the falls pouring down from 173 feet to the pool below. The trail continues until you are able to pass behind the falls at just above the midpoint of the cascading water.
I decided to head down the 185 steps on to the lower south falls, about a mile further. The lower falls is a 93-foot drop. On the way down the steps I came across a young man sitting with his daughter, who I would judge to be about 3 or 4. I asked her if she was having fun, and she gave me a big grin and a happy “yes.” Farther along the steps there was a young couple carrying a baby stroller, the father walking backward at the downward side while mom handled the top. I had to say, “You’re on a courageous hike!” I am sure I could never have managed to do that when my kids were that young.
Once you reach what seemed like the bottom of the world, I realized I now had to go back up and the trail was daunting to me. I would guess it varied between a 30 to 45 degree incline. While there were a few benches on the way, there were nowhere enough for me! At one point I saw a bench ahead with three folks around it. I saw no hint they might make room for me and I didn’t ask, so on I went. At another bench I asked if there was room for one more, and space was cheerfully made for me. I had many standing rests. I found a cut log and plopped myself down on it. A couple of ladies, probably in their 40s+ came by and we exchanged greetings. Then one looked over and asked, “Are you okay?” I must have looked as worn out as I felt! I said, “I’m fine. Thanks.”
That return trail was just over a mile and when I finally did reach the plateau I felt I must be in heaven due to the height and the reward of a relatively flat surface from there back to the main facilities and parking lot.I probably will not make this hike again, but it was totally rewarding to know that I could do it. The hardest part, physically, was the hip joints and muscles. Please, come walk with me by way of this slideshow.
Silver Falls Photos