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Salem, Oregon, United States

Ten Falls Canyon Trail

A trail in Silver Falls State Park past 10 beautiful waterfalls, perfect for the whole family.

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 (7 votes, 2 reviews)
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 10.2 miles / 16.4 km
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly
 
Overview: This casual hike through a beautiful canyon in Oregon's largest State park takes you past TEN beautiful waterfalls ranging in height from 27 feet to 178 feet and 4 of them you can even walk behind! There are plenty of benches to rest at and the trail is extremely well maintained, perfect for the whole family. Before or after the amazing hike you can even enjoy some great coffee and food at the cafe and gift shop located next to the parking lot. The park itself is 9,000 acres and contains over 24 miles of trails for biking and hiking but this trail is by far the best of all of them. Definitely one of my favorite easy hikes in all of Oregon!

Tips: Day use permits are required year round and as of this writing cost $5 with an annual pass costing $30. Pets are allowed in the park and the picnic areas but are not allowed on the Canyon Trail of Ten Falls. The park is open year round. From my experience in the dryiest months of August and September the waterfalls lose much of their water but in the spring months and rainy winter months the falls are powerful but you might get wet on the walk. I've tried to include photos of high flow and low flow times of year so you can get an idea of what the best time to go is.

Points of Interest

Campground
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Start of the hike

The start of the hike brings you past a cafe and gift shop and bathrooms. Stop in if you have to go because there aren't any more restrooms on the trip. Make sure to read the informative signs along the path to learn about the construction of the famous Canyon Trail and the largest State Park in Oregon. Entrance to the park costs $5 for the day or $30 for the year. I've included in this POI a bunch of photos of cool stuff you will see along the hike but don't have precise locations for them. Of course you will see plenty of waterfalls too! If it is wet enough you may see well more than 10 as you walk through the temperate rainforest of the canyon!
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South Falls

This Fall is 177 feet Tall and is the first one you will encounter on the trail. It has a loop trail to bring you back to the parking lot and gift shop if you don't want to continue on down the trail for the full 10 mile loop hike.
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Lower South Falls

After a mile you come to 93ft Lower South Falls. After descending several switchbacks with a metal railing you can walk behind the falls to continue the walk. Take a few minutes in this area to check out the vegetation and how cool it is to be directly behind such a beautiful waterfall! Take photos!! You will have just over a mile to the next waterfall but the trail is beautiful so it won't be bad! If it is the right season you may be treated to a buffet of berries growing along the path!
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Lower North Falls

1.25 miles from Lower South Falls you will come to the 30ft Lower North Falls of Silver Creek. There is a dramatic difference in how this waterfall looks in the spring compared to the early fall as you can see from the photos!
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Double Falls

Before you get to the footbridge over Hult Creek you will come to a trail heading off to your left. It's pretty short and it leads you to the tallest waterfall on the hike at 178ft! During the summer and fall there may not be much water trickling over the top but during the wet winter and spring this is worth the extra effort to go check out!
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Drake Falls

This waterfall on Silver Creek is the smallest at only 27ft but there is a nice viewing platform for you to take a rest at and check out the beauty of the surrounding forest.
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Middle North Falls

This waterfall is one of my favorites. It is 106ft tall and a short side trail will lead you underneath it. Sometimes this trail is chained off (no idea why) but most of the time it is open. It doesn't have the protective rock wall of Lower South Falls and the rocks can get slippery when wet so try to stay on the path as a slip to the narrow pool below would be REALLY BAD. Also, although the photo shows me on an offshoot trail above the falls on the rocks looking over the edge this trail has been roped off since and it is not advisable to get so close to the edge. The only reason I did was because it was the dry season and the rocks were dry and safe. When there is water and the rocks are wet don't even try to go out there or you certainly will slip AND DIE. Also, check out the MASSIVE doug fir on the approach to going behind the waterfall. Get a picture next to it for a size comparison perspective!
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Winter Falls

To get to the 134ft Winter Falls you need to take the Winter Trial a half mile to it. You can cut the hike in half here and climb out of the canyon from the falls to return via the Rim Trail 1.1 miles to the parking lot or (the better choice) return via the Winter Trail to the Canyon trail and head onwards towards the final waterfalls. TIP: If you are visiting the park during the dry months of the year go ahead and skip Winter Falls as there most likely will not be any water pouring over the edge. On the hike back via the Rim Trail you will be able to look over the top anyway and have a great view back towards North Falls. If there is water there is a nice bench to sit at on one of the switchbacks near the falls.
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Twin Falls

Twin Falls is only 31 feet but during months of high flow it can beautiful as the water is split into two cascading streams. It is a mile to the next massive waterfall but along the way you will be teased with many views of it to keep your energy up.
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North Falls

This 136ft beauty has carved out a cave behind it through erosion of softer rock. The trail takes you down a series of steps and then into the cavern behind the roaring falls. This is by far one of the coolest waterfall experiences in the Pacific Northwest. During high flow this waterfall is spectacular. It is amazing how far back the cavern goes from the falls. Take a moment to check out the difference between the brittle rock that is eroding and the harder volcanic rock ceiling of the cavern. From here you will climb a series of steps up and out of the canyon. Take your time and look back to enjoy the views.
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Upper North Falls

Upper North Falls is a 65ft beauty that cascades into a calm pool below. You will need to continue on the trail under the highway for almost a half mile to get to it but during high flow months it is worth it. If you are tired and don't want to continue on don't worry, as there is a parking lot there and you can easily park there and come back another day for the short hike out to view this waterfall.
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Old Growth Forest

From the North parking lot is just over two miles back to your car. It's pretty flat walking through a beautiful old growth forest with a paved bike trail that zigs in and out of the path you are on. Take your time to enjoy these massive trees and stop for a few minutes to lean up against them and look up at their towering canopies. You've just seen 10 beautiful (maybe more if it's really wet) waterfalls on this day hike. Next time come back with a book to read or to trail run the route. You won't find this many waterfalls together on a trail this good anywhere else in the country! Congratulations!
Pictures in this guide taken by: JonathanEllinger, Not recommended you get this close!

Jonathan Ellinger
Reviews
planetwi36
Great place to visit with your friends

by planetwi36 6 days ago
JMilesMiller
Amazing location, so many awesome waterfalls. Nice job on the guide write up, very well done.

by JMilesMiller on Mar 07, 2011

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About the Author

JonathanEllinger
JonathanEllinger
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Although I have climbed over 250 mountains from various places around the U.S. and have hiked in Europe...

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