|Day Use:||Year Round|
Silver Falls State Park opened July 23, 1933. But its history began long before.
The Kalapuya and Molalla, whose ancestors came to the Willamette Valley about 14,000 years ago, were the native people in the Silver Falls area when settlers arrived as early as 1812. Indigenous people numbered about 15,000 in the Willamette Valley prior to settlement, but populations began to decline with the introduction of foreign diseases, for which they had no immunity. By the early 1840s, the indigenous population dropped to about 600, and newcomers were arriving in large numbers. By 1850 hundreds of settlers lived in and around the Silver Falls Area before completely displacing all the native people in western Oregon when the government relocated them to reservations in 1854.
The first land homesteaded in Silver Falls was in 1883 next to South Falls. The next homestead comprised the area that includes South Falls Lodge, nearby buildings, and the park’s main parking lot. On this same land, the town of Silver Falls City was platted in 1888. Never more than several dozen families at a time resided in it. Still, it was the de facto capital of Silver Falls, an area with a peak of more than 200 residents, and it lasted for over 40 years. In its time, it had three general stores, an eight-room hotel, church, dance hall, tavern, granary, blacksmith shop, houses with barns and other outbuildings, and several sawmills. A one-room school was located 1 1/2 miles south.
Building a Park
The Great Depression struck in 1929, and Oregon’s most important industry—timber— tanked. The whole state's economy, and Silver Falls along with it, was devastated. U.S. government programs for mitigating the effects of the depression also made the park the great place it is today. One program, the Civilian Conservation Corps, put young unemployed men to work constructing buildings, trails, bridges, retaining walls, and other park infrastructure—most of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Through the Silver Falls Recreational Demonstration Area—a federal land acquisition, development, and transfer program— more than 5,000 acres were added to the park by 1948.
Two people stand out in the history of the park. June Drake, a Silverton photographer, conducted a long, unrelenting campaign to have the waterfalls and their surrounding area enclosed in a park. Samuel H. Boardman, the first superintendent of Oregon state parks, took a special interest in Silver Falls while expanding and developing the state’s park system. Drake earned the honorary title of the Father of Silver Falls State Park and Boardman the title of the Father of Oregon State Parks.
Silver Falls Today
Park staff, with support from volunteers, maintains a park of over 9,000 acres that annually attract well over a million visitors.
For more information please visit the Friends of Silver Falls website: friendsofsilverfalls.net
Annual overnight attendance: 80,124
Annual day-use attendance: 1,341,880
Silver Falls State Park FAQ
The Trail of Ten Falls is a designated National Recreation Trail, and lures photographers, hikers and waterfall enthusiasts alike. Listed as a moderate hike with 800 feet elevation variation, sturdy shoes and a camera are encouraged. Each of the three trailheads leading into the canyon starts atop of an over one hundred foot waterfall. The decent into the pristine canyon begins within the canopy of towering Douglas Firs, as it meanders down to the undergrowth of ferns into the heart of the canyon, meeting up with the winding creek. Whether you are up for the full seven mile trek or a shortened journey, the Trail of 10 Falls is and enjoyable and beautiful hike as you as explore from one falls to the next.
The full Trail of 10 Falls consits of Canyon Trail and Rim Trail, for a 7 mile loop. Parking for these trail heads are South Falls and North Falls. Day Use parking passes may be purchased at both locations. Entry to the Canyon Trail can also be accessed via the Maple Ridge, Winter and North Group Twin Falls trail.
Pets and bicycles are not allowed on the Canyon Trail, or on trails that lead into the canyon; Maple Ridge, Winter and Twin Falls trail.
There are four water falls that you are able to walk behind. South Falls is the famous one, though Lower South, North and Middle North all have an amphitheater that provides enough room for a trail. The water of Silver Creek flows over a thick basalt lava flow that is resting on softer, older rock. As the water loses elevation this softer layer beneath erodes and created a natural pathway.
As you enter South Falls Day Use Area, please pay your day use fee then proceed to Main restroom. If you arrive at North Falls first, there is a vault toilet in the parking lot.
There are no restrooms available on any of the trails in Silver Falls. Please use the restrooms provided at these parking lots.
The campground and cabin loop also has flush restroms availible to campers only.
2020 season- restrooms remain open, though shower faclilities are closed.
Oregon Parks are committed to clean facilities and public health; however, please remember facilities are only as clean as the last person who used them.
Carlie Childs is the Silver Falls Host Coordinator. She will be happy to help direct you to the appropriate volunteer contact or assist you in applying for a hosting position at Silver Falls State Park. She can be reached at 503-873-8681 ex 39.
Thank you for your interest as we look forward to hearing from you.
Our main office phone number is 503.873.8681 ex24. We are open Monday- Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm. Though we can’t make reservations on this line, we can assist with most questions involving flora & fauna, directions, camping, trails and general frequently asked questions.
Gates at South Falls Day Use will be locked before and after the following times:
November- January: 8:00am- 5:00pm
February: 8:00am- 6:00pm
March: 8:00am- 8:00pm
April- August: 7:00am- 9:00pm
September: 7:00am- 8:00pm
October: 8:00am- 7:00pm
Silver Falls State Park is a remote area. Cell phone coverage is limited. At&t and Verizon customers will have better reception, though in case of emergency all cell phones will be able to access 911.
We have WiFi! The South Falls Lodge has free WiFi.
20024 Silver Falls Hwy SE, Sublimity OR 97385
All 9,000 acres have the same address. For a trail map please visit https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=main.loadFile&load=_siteFiles%2Fpublications%2FSilver_Falls_Map_WEB111239.pdf
Many items large and small are lost and sometimes even found at Silver Falls.
To report your missing item please call the main office at 503-873-8681 ex 24. If the item has been turned in, we will mail your item back, at your expense.
If you found an item on the trails or elsewhere, please turn the item into a staff member. We will do our best to get the item back to the owner.
All facilities within Silver Falls can be reserved though Reserve America. Please call 1-800-452-5687 or go online at www.oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com. You are able to reserve nine months in advance up to 24 hours prior to check in. To contact our staff in the Registration Booth please call 503-873-8681 ex 31.
Effective 2020 Season- for the forseable future reservations can only be made up to 30 days in advance. Oregon State Parks are honnoring reservations prior to the shut down. To camp at Silver Falls you must have a reservation. Walk in camping and dispersed camping is not permitted at Silver Falls.
For the 2020 season- firewood is for sale in the campground for $5.00 a bundle. Please pay at the fee machine. Ice will be sold at the Confrence center from 8:00am- 7:00pm.
For the 2020 season- we are unable to provide day of camping. Silver Falls is a very popular, small campground and is FULL most evenings. Please check https://oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/silver-falls-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=OR&parkId=402235 for availability.
Yes! For those less inclined to camp, please check out our Confence Center.
Also located in Silver Falls State Park, Silver Falls Conference Center is the perfect retreat center to refresh, reflect, and recharge while surrounded by nature. This complex of buildings and open spaces can host weddings, conferences, church and youth group meetings, motivational workshops, reunions,or corporate trainings and brainstorming sessions. Located in aptly-named Sublimity,Oregon, Silver Falls Conference Center is the best of both worlds: close enough to the capital seat of Salem, the Portland International Airport, and Interstate 5 to make it readily accessible, yet secluded enough to allow for focused discussions, intimate ceremonies, and outdoor recreation. Guests can enjoy more than twenty-five miles of lush hiking and jogging trails, glimpses of wildlife, and the thrill of passing behind cascading waterfalls of mountain-fed streams.
For pricing and general questions please follow the link to the Confrence Center's website. http://www.silverfallslodge.com
Silver Falls State Park allows drone use without a permit at the South Viewpoint and the North Falls Group Camp and Day Use- these locations do not have a view of waterfalls.
All other locations are prohibited to preserve public safety and sensitive habitat.
Silver Falls State Park welcomes visitors and their pets to most areas of the park. However; for the safety of you and other hikers, pets are not allowed on the Canyon Trail or on the connecting trails of Winter Trail, Maple Ridge Trail and Twin Falls Trail.
Throughout other areas of the park pets are required to be on a leash and of no more than six feet in length. A pet exercise/off leash area is located in South Falls Day Use Area for pets to run while under voice control.
Upper North Falls is a pet friendly waterfall! The short trail leads to the base of the 65 foot cascade where on leash your pet can swim and lap up the crystal clear water of Silver Creek. South Falls can be viewed with a pet, though the trail to walk inbehind is not accessible.
For the equestrian users, dog owners, mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts, more than 35 miles of multi-use backcountry trails spread over the 9,000 acres offer a great escape. Surrounded by Douglas-fir, western hemlock, Oregon grape, salal, sword fern and the remnants of old growth forest, the trails of Rackett Ridge, Perimeter and Buck Mountain loop provide remarkable scenery with a variety of plant and animal life. Pacific black-tail deer, black bear, coyotes and cougars thrive in the lush, temperate rainforest and can be seen within these remote park areas.
If you have any questions about which trails will accommodate pets, please check with park staff.
Silver Falls is home to many species of wildlife, including black bear and cougars. If you come across an animal, do not approach it. You can learn more about what to do if you encounter bears and cougars by picking up a pamphlet from any day use booth. Please report any sighting to the first available park ranger.
All fishing at Silver Falls State Park is catch and release only, barbless hook. Parties must be licensed through Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and are encouraged to stay on trail. For specific fishing regulations, please research http://www.dfw.state.or.us/
Our horse concessionaire is back 2020! Please visit http://www.silverfallsridingstables.com/ to book a ride.
You may also bring your own horses and enjoy the equestrian friendly trails.
Day use/Special Events
The South Falls Day Use Area has spacious lawns, BBQ stands, picnic shelters or tables, playground, swimming area, horse shoe pits, doggie off leash area, and charming creek Silver Falls is famous for. Ever since the opening day in 1933; visitors have been using these grounds for potlucks, family reunions and weddings, all within a short walk to view the famous 177 foot South Falls.
Also located within South Falls Day Use is the Historic South Falls lodge; on rainy or snowy days there will be a fire to cozy next to and a café for warm food & snacks (ice cream too!) Friendly volunteers welcome questions about park history, flora, fauna and are happy to recommend specific trails. The nearby Friends of Silver Falls Nature Store has memorabilia and local artisan crafts.
The day-use fee for Silver Falls is $5.00. This fee may be purchased at many of our trail heads and booths. Your campground pass or extra vehicle pass doubles as a day use permit.
While each payment machine operates differently, none will give change. Please come with exact change or a visa/discover/master card. Fee machines are found at the South Falls Day Use, North Falls Trail Head and Registration Booth.
Annual and biannual passes are available for purchase online at StateParks.Oregon.gov. at the park office, and at the Friends of Silver Falls Nature Store (located in the Historic Silver Falls District).
North West Forest Service, National Park & Golden Eagle are not a valid permit for State Parks. Only passes issued by Oregon Parks & Recreational Department are validated as a day use passes.
2020 Season- The Historic South Falls Lodge is currently closed until further notice. The café remains operation, though hours do vary throughout the year please see the following:
May- September: Everyday 11:00am- 4:30pm
October- April: Everyday Hours to be determined
Standard American cuisine, coffee & hot chocolate, ice-cream too!
For specific menu items and group accommodations please call 503.873.8875.
Yes! Our Nature Store is run by wonderful volunteers!
The Friends of Silver Falls Nature Store hours are as follows:
Monday- Thursday: Closed until further notice
Friday-Sundays: 10:00am- 5:00pm*
*During the 2020 season- Volunteers are limmited, hours and days may be reduced.
For specific questions about the Friends of Silver Falls Nature Store please call 503.873.3495 or go to thier website @ http://www.friendsofsilverfalls.net/
Our Interpretive Ranger Matt Palmquist would be glad to talk to you about this possibility. Space is limited so please make these arraignments far in advance. His direct line is 503.874.0201.
Whether you are planning a wedding, a family gathering or company picnic we have great places for you to use! Our Youth Camp and North Falls Meeting Hall are very popular venues; so popular that it is necessary for you to make arrangements in advance with a ranger to take a tour of these facilites.
If you have questions about any of these venues, or would like to schedule a tour please call 503.873.8681 ex 24.
For questions or to request a tour of the Confrence Center, including the Ranches- please call 503.873.8875.