If I told you there was a literal hike with no fewer than ten waterfalls featured along the way, would you believe it? Honestly, I thought “Trail Of Ten Falls” was just a clever trail name, and I was not expecting to see ten actually amazing waterfalls along the way!
But guess what? That is ACTUALLY what you get!
The Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park is a must-see for any outdoor enthusiast visiting the Salem, Oregon area. The best part about this hike is that it’s pretty easy to get to from nearby metropolitan cities like Portland and Eugene, OR!
This 7.2-mile loop trail takes hikers through the beautiful forested canyon of Silver Creek, showcasing an impressive array of waterfalls along the way.
Here’s my full guide on how to hike the Trail of Ten Falls and what to expect at each waterfall.
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Table of Contents
What Is The Trail Of Ten Falls?
The Trail of Ten Falls, located in the pristine Silver Falls State Park near Silverton, OR, offers an unforgettable hike through some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire state. This hike easily takes a spot in my list of favorite hikes in all of the PNW!
Should you choose to do this day hike, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views throughout your journey along this 7.2-mile loop trail.
Along the way, you will encounter ten (yes, ten!!) different falls that cascade down from nearby cliffs and offer a variety of sights and experiences for visitors to enjoy.
Here’s a little sample of some of the falls we encountered on our day hike last June:
The Trail of Ten Falls is a great destination for anyone looking for an adventure. With its lush green forests, deep ravines and cascading waterfalls, it’s easy to forget you’re not too far from major metropolitan cities!
Being just a little over an hour from both Portland and Eugene, this hike makes for a great half-day trip away from the city.
Silver Falls State Park is near Silverton, Oregon about 20 miles (26 minutes driving time) east of Salem.
Trail of Ten Falls: Hike Details
Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know about this epic hike:
- Hike Distance: 7.2 miles long
- Hike Duration: it takes about 3-5 hours to complete depending on your speed and how long you linger at the waterfalls
- Hike Difficulty: moderate due to some of the elevation gain and rocky terrain, 800-ft of elevation gain in total.
- Parking: $5 per vehicle. Pay stations are at most trailheads. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most pay stations or please bring exact change. Parking is free with a current campground receipt.
- Pets Allowed: Pets are allowed on many trails at Silver Falls, including some trails that make up the Trail of Ten Falls. However, on the Canyon Trail sections of the hike, pets are not permitted. See this map for more info on which sections allow pets.
- Restrooms: In the parking areas only.
- Trail conditions: The Trail of Ten Falls is steep in sections and is mainly unpaved. It is not suitable for strollers.
- Trailheads: You can access this loop trail from any of the following trailheads –
- South Falls Day-use Area (huge, main parking lot where the cafe and lodge are located)
- Winter Falls Trailhead
- North Falls Trailhead (limited parking)
- North Falls day-use and group camp trailhead
- The Trail of Ten Falls is well-marked with signs to help you find your way.
- You can hike either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Either way, you will be able to hit all ten falls.
- I recommend you bring a hiking daypack (ideally one with a water reservoir) filled with plenty of water, snacks, a map of the trail, and a high-quality camera to capture the stunning views along the way!
How To Get To The Trail Of Ten Falls Hike
The Trail of Ten Falls hike is located within Silver Falls State Park. I recommend starting and ending the loop hike at the South Falls Lodge Trailhead. That way, you can enjoy a smoothie or a sandwich from the cafe at the end of your hike!
Trail Address: South Falls Lodge Trailhead, Silver Falls Hwy SE, Silverton, OR 97381
The park is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and there is a $5 day-use fee per vehicle.
The drive from Portland to Silver Falls State Park should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on traffic.
To get to Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park from Portland, Oregon, you can GPS from Portland to here.
The drive from Eugene to Silver Falls State Park should take about 1 hour and 25 minutes, depending on traffic.
To get to the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park from Eugene, Oregon, you can set your GPS to take you to these coordinates (same as above):
Trail Of Ten Falls Hike: What To Expect
Before reading any further, I suggest you just glance at this map so you have a high-level understanding of what this hike looks like. It’s made up of 2 main trails (Canyon Trail and Rim Trail) and is a loop hike, meaning you will finish where you started without having to retrace your steps.
Got that? Let’s continue then!
Before you start your hike, be sure to come prepared with plenty of water, snacks, and sturdy hiking shoes. The trail is rated as moderate, with some steep and rocky sections.
It’s also a good idea to pick up a map of the trail at the trailhead so you know where to keep an eye out for the waterfalls as some of them require a quick few steps off the main trail.
The Trail of Ten Falls begins at the South Falls Day Use Area, where you’ll find a huge parking lot, a cafe and lodge, and restrooms. After paying for parking, pack up your hiking gear, and grab yourself a trail map.
Already, you’ll be able to see how lush and green your surroundings are, so get excited!
I recommend you use the restrooms here as there are no restrooms on the actual trails themselves.
If you have any questions, there should be a few volunteers standing around the trailhead ready and willing to answer any and all questions you may have!
From here, you’ll follow the marked trail through the forest, crossing over Silver Creek several times on footbridges. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, with plenty of signs along the way to help you stay on track.
As you hike in a clockwise direction, you’ll come across the first of the ten waterfalls: South Falls. This waterfall is one of the most impressive in the park, with a 177-foot drop into a large pool below.
In fact, South Falls rates as one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon, along with Multnomah Falls and Punch Bowl Falls in the Columbia River Gorge! You can get a great view of South Falls from the overlook at the top, or you can take the trail down to the base of the falls for an up-close look.
Next up is Lower South Falls, a smaller but still beautiful waterfall that drops over a series of cascades. This is a good spot to take a break and enjoy a snack before continuing on.
From here, the trail starts to climb up the canyon wall, offering views of the surrounding forest and the cascades of Silver Creek. You’ll pass by Lower North Falls, a wide and graceful waterfall that tumbles over a series of cascades.
From here, step off the main trail just a couple of steps to reach Double Falls, a double-tiered waterfall that tumbles over two separate drops. Go back the way you came to get back on Canyon Trail and continue forward.
The next waterfall on the trail is Drake Falls, a small but cute waterfall that’s popular with families. This is a good spot for a quick break before continuing on to the next waterfall. I’ll admit, this one was a bit hard to photograph because of all the random shrubbery everywhere.
As you continue on, you’ll come to Middle North Falls, a stunning waterfall that plunges over a sheer rock face. This is another great spot to take in the views and snap some photos.
It’s super cool because, like with some of the other waterfalls on this hike, you get to walk behind the waterfall!
NOTE: If you are getting tired at this point and want to cut the hike short, you can take the Winter Trail to cut out 2.5 miles of hiking and 3 waterfalls (Twin Falls, North Falls, Upper North Falls) and get straight to Winter Falls.
Assuming you’re in it for the long haul, from Middle North Falls, keep hiking along the same trail to reach the next falls.
From Middle North Falls, the trail continues on to Twin Falls, a double-tiered waterfall that’s visible from both the top and the base. This is a popular spot for picnics and rest breaks, so be sure to take your time and enjoy the scenery.
About 1-mile away from Twin Falls is another one of my favorites, North Falls!
Another super impressive waterfall on the Trail of Ten Falls, North Falls a powerful and roaring waterfall that drops over a sheer rock face.
North Falls also has a huge section of rock cutout so you can walk behind it, and just like the South Falls, this one blew me away with its strength and power! It was like a strong firehose of endless water.
From here, you have the option to walk an extra 0.3 miles on the Rim Trail to get to Upper North Falls. While it may seem a bit out of the way, the view of this falls is totally worth it!
Either way, this is going to be the point where we switch from Canyon Trail to Rim Trail. Don’t worry, everything is super clearly marked and if you have your map, it’ll be very hard to get lost.
After about 1 mile of walking along the Rim Trail heading west, the next stop is Winter Falls, a tall and slender waterfall that’s really only impressive in the spring when it’s flowing at its fullest.
If you’re hiking in the midst of summer, don’t expect much from this one. Nevertheless, this is a great spot to pause and take in the beauty of the surrounding forest.
After you’ve visited all ten waterfalls, the trail will naturally take you back to the South Falls Day Use Area, where you can clean up, stretch, and eat a snack.
Because I didn’t bring too many snacks with me along the hike, I was completely starving after my hike. The South Falls Cafe saved my life with its delicious warm offerings!
I ordered a turkey croissant sandwich that came with very delicious potato chips, while my friend ordered a mango smoothie that really hit the spot!
Overall, the Trail of Ten Falls is a fantastic hike that’s suitable for hikers of all levels. Since my first experience here, I’ve been recommending it to all my friends who have plans to travel to Oregon.
I’m hoping to do this hike again next June as that’s when the waterfalls are in full force! (Photos here are from my hike during the month of July.)
Trail Of Ten Falls Hike: Essential Tips
Before taking off on this awesome half-day hike, it’s important to be prepared and pack everything you need to have a great day at Silver Falls State Park.
- Sturdy waterproof shoes may be necessary since many areas can get muddy and wet during heavy rains or melted snow. If it’s later in the summer and fall season (when waterfalls are less gushy), you can get away with regular sneakers.
- To protect yourself from sunburns, bring along sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
- Depending on the season, you may also need rain protection. Oregon’s weather is unpredictable and prone to rain, especially from October through April. A lightweight waterproof rain jacket is something you can easily stuff into your daypack without weighing you down.
- You’ll want to bring plenty of water and light snacks as you’ll be hiking for several hours. You won’t have to bring a full picnic lunch if you don’t want to because there is an onsite cafe in the park that serves hot food.
- In the drier months of late summer (late July to September), the waterfalls lose a lot of their water, but in the spring/early summer months (May to June) the falls are very full and gushing!
Where To Stay When Visiting Trail Of Ten Falls
If you prefer being close to a larger city and don’t mind driving to reach the park, Portland or Eugene would make great home bases for this day hike.
If you’re looking for boutique hotel vibes with a mix of Oregon Ducks decor, go with the Graduate Eugene.
However, if you’re looking for an excellent free breakfast that comes complimentary with your stay, I’d choose Hayward Inn!
They had huge rooms and a surprisingly delicious and hot breakfast that I was shocked to find in such a random hotel! Biscuits and gravy before a day hike? Yes please.
For accommodations closer to the state park, consider staying at a hotel in Silverton, such as at Oregon Garden Resort (about a 35-minute drive from the trailhead).
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