Trail Report: Silver Falls State Park

It’s January, and I was going stir crazy. I wanted to hit the trails, but then again, I didn’t want to get soaked entirely doing so. So, to the internet, I went. After multiple articles and maps gone over, I decided on Silver Falls Park just outside of Silverton, OR. The park came up numerous times on the “best hikes in the rain” lists, and I had it on my radar since we captured Melissa and Ethan’s wedding there.

Silver Falls Park
South Falls Nikon D750 with Variable ND Filter to knock down the harsh summer light.

So already having a shot I loved of this waterfall, and it being winter in the Pacific Northwest, I modified the hike so that we could hit the most falls before we got too soaked or the sunlight left us.

We left Battle Ground, WA at about 8:00 (kids needed to get to school and such) and headed south to the park just outside of Silverton, OR.

To cut down time going from the south, middle, and north falls, we started at the Winter Falls trailhead and hiked down hitting in this order:

Winter Falls
Middle North Falls
Drake falls
Double Falls
Lower North Falls

Then we turned back around to Twin Falls before doubling back to the Winter Falls trailhead.

Silver Falls Park map
The red indicates our trails in and out.

After a lunch break at the trailhead, we went towards the front of the park to the North Falls trailhead, hiked down to North Falls, then up to Upper North Falls and back to the car…with wet gear.


Now for the details!

First, I’ll start with my gear.

Nikon D750

Tiffen Variable ND filter


Mavic Pro 2


A mini survival kit that should always be with you

For landscapes, it’s just the basics with me. That way I can hike for longer before tiring, as I am also working on my stamina right now!

At the trailhead, the elevation drops pretty quickly as you switchback along the hill. Rounding the corner, you get the first glimpse of Winter Falls. I am taking that the name is due only to be seen during the rainy season. The water flow was high at this time of year (January) but looks as if it can dry up pretty quick.

After playing in the creekbed for a bit and getting the drone up and around, we packed back up and headed down the trail. There is a large tree down over the path and we had to duck under before the bridge. I don’t know what it is, but I always love the architecture of the bridges from the forest service. Maybe it’s the lines.

Silver Falls Park_0004

The view up the creek wasn’t bad either. It was still pretty early in the morning, so the mist wasn’t entirely gone.

Silver Falls Park

Just a little bit farther down the trail, it branches off, and you come across Middle North Falls. The small hike down is ultimately rewarded with a walk BEHIND the waterfall and a cave to hang out in on the other side.

Silver Falls Park_0008

This was the first waterfall I have ever got to walk behind and not have to worry about getting drenched. You’re pretty protected from the water back there. We even stopped on the other side to get some images of the water in a closer up style.

Silver Falls Park
Up close and personal with the waterfall.


Silver Falls Park
The Mavic Pro 2 braving the light rain to get me a sweet shot.

There was an area to drop down lower (lower right side of this image), but as it was raining, I didn’t want to attempt to climb around on the slippery rocks. So instead, I launch the Mavic Pro 2 to see what it could do. This would be its first hiking excursion. Of course, it paid off with the beautiful image above. I was happy that I was able to slow the shutter speed just enough to blur the water, yet not blur the rest of the image. If you look closely, you can see my friend Tim there by the waterfall.

The next two waterfalls we came across after this image were Drake Falls and Double falls.  We did not stop to capture Drake Falls as this falls access and angle is a bit awkward, and the waterfall itself didn’t catch our eye. So sorry! You’ll have to hit the trail itself to see it.

As for Double Falls, the gully that it was located in pushed the wind towards us a little harder and the rain was coming down more. We couldn’t get a good angle without getting everything thoroughly soaked. I did get the waterproof GoPro out, and you can see it at the beginning of the video posted below.

We hiked back up to the trail and headed a little bit farther to see what Lower North Falls had to offer.

When you first approach it, you get a break through the trees and a side view. During all the other seasons, it’s probably obscured from this angle.

Lower Middle Falls from a side viewpoint.

But if you keep walking down the trail just a tad more, you get an amazing view of this little beauty. Not as tall as the others, but it still puts on a show.

From here, we packed up our gear and hiked uphill back to the junction at the bridge. Here you can turn right and go back to the trailhead, or walk .3 miles and see Twin Falls. We felt that we needed to see as much as we could fit in, so off to the falls!

Twin Falls Silver Falls Park

Twin falls can be tricky to see all of it. It actually angles away from the trail so the whole thing is not in view. I cated and got the DJI Mavic Pro 2 over the river and got some clear shots of it before the rain really started to come down.

We dried off our gear, packed it in our bags and headed back up the to the Winter Falls Trail head. Shedding layers of wet clothes once we got to the car and ate a quick lunch while we drove down to the North Falls Trailhead.

When you first drive into the park, the first parking lot you come across is the one for North Falls. During the summer this lot is PACKED, but we definitely had our choice of prime spots. In fact, I think we came across maybe 8 people total this entire trip. That is actually one of the main factors of my drone going up. ive heard plenty of people complaining when they see someone getting different views with their drones and how it “takes away from their experience”. So I try to only launch when there are little to no other people around.

Walk across the small bridge from the lot see a break in the trail to the right or left. Right brings up to Upper North Falls, and right brings yo o North Falls. Looking at the map we knew we may spend a longer time at North Falls, so away e went.

You can see it in the video, but the trail can get a little steep and slippery, in fact they have stairs at a portion, but once you round a corner you get the full view. A huge waterfall with an amazing cave behind it.

We hung out in this giant cave looking at the walls and valley, then strode to the other side to catch the waterfall fully. The view on the far side from teh trail is the best. Again, a great place to hang out when its raining!

Back up the trail and up to the Upper North Falls!

If you’re looking for a short, flat, and easy hike, this is the one to go on. Really quick and barely any elevation gain. By this time, the rain was consistent and our rain gear was starting to fail. We got to the waterfall and immediately started climbing on the roks. Probably not the best move as I was slipping all over, thank goodness for my hiking poles!

I got to the angle I wanted and set everything up. I was only a few shots in when I knew it was time to pack it up. The interior of my camera bag started catching rain d Tim dropped his GoPros gimble into the creek itself. I was able to get some images that I was very happy with of Upper North Falls, you can even see some of the water on my lens if you look closely.

So if you’re looking for a great hike that will keep you mostly dry, this is the one. I’m sure that if we didn’t stop to play around at each waterfall, we would of been much more dry. Definitely watch the video below to see more and subscribe to our YouTube channel! We’re just getting started!

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