Trail

Trail of Ten Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Salem, OR
Length: 7.80 mi.
Type: Loop

About This Trail

[Total: 1    Average: 2/5]

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, nature play area, camping, splashing

LENGTH OF HIKE: 7.8 miles

OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Both

DIFFICULTY OF TERRAIN: Moderate

ELEVATION GAIN: 700 feet

PARKING FEE/PASS: Yes

TOILETS: Yes

CHANGING TABLE: Yes

NURSING BENCHES: Yes

DOGS ALLOWED: No

BIKES/HORSES/MOTORS ON TRAIL: No

CELL RECEPTION: Spotty

DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE: Yes

POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Steep drop-offs on parts of the trail

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Hiking poles, sunscreen, bug spray, towels if splashing in water

Why Silver Falls isn’t recognized as one of the “Seven Wonders of Oregon” is beyond us. With 10 waterfalls to view in one park, outside of the Columbia Gorge, this is where most Oregonians (and 1.2 million visitors annually) go to get their
waterfall fix. With easy, very family-accessible trails, this one is a winner if you want to keep the kids entertained and excited about waterfall wandering. What makes this area amazing is that while you can do a big loop and see 10 waterfalls on
the one main trail, you can also just do some out and back on either end of the trail to view a few waterfalls whether you go clockwise or counterclockwise.

The hike has a few climbs, so expect to climb some stairs, but most of it is very doable by children who are comfortable hiking. If you choose to do the entire 7.8 miles you’ll probably end up carrying, but it will be worth it. Chances are with how many exciting waterfall viewings there are around every bend, your little one will want to do a lot of up and down again by the next waterfall. You can hike this one both clockwise and counterclockwise, with similar climbing in both directions. If you want to start off with a big bang right up front, head by the Visitor Center  (great bathroom stop there) and head out to the Upper South Falls and then Lower South Falls. There is a place here where you can turn this hike into a loop and head back uphill. This shorter version is stroller friendly as well with a little pushing  uphill if you just stay on the Maple Ridge Trail.

It’s easy to see why the original inhabitants, the Kalapuya and Molalla, chose to live in this beautiful region beginning nearly 14,000 years ago. At its peak time, this area was home to around 15,000 indigenous people until disease brought in by people of European descent caused the original inhabitant population to decrease to 600 people. Those left were displaced by homesteaders in the 1800s and sent to live on reservations in eastern Oregon.

There are so many reasons to love this well-maintained Oregon State Park, from  the beautiful waterfalls that are up to 177 feet tall cascading down rock walls to the thick forest that is one of the last remaining low-elevation old-growth forests west  of the Cascades. This 9,200-acre forest of Douglas fir, hemlock, and cedar is as peaceful as they come, with lush, deep-green, moss-covered trees that are home to woodpeckers, blue jays, robins, and great gray owls to name a few of the birds singing out from high above. On the ground, deer and bunnies are plentiful.

Consider making a weekend out of visiting Silver Falls; individual and group sites are available, but you definitely need a reservation. Also look for the unique North Canyon Nature Play Area in this park near the group camping site. Unlike a  traditional playground with plastic structures, this nature-based “playground” was designed to teach children how to mimic animals with a “bear den” to climb in
and a “giant bird nest” to jump out of.

INSIDER’S TIP
Not up for the full, big hike? Do shorter hikes out and back to South Falls, North Falls, and Upper North Falls. Upper North Falls is best in the middle of a hot summer because there is a beautiful toddler-friendly pool of icy water to swim in at the base of the falls. This spot also is often shady, so it’s easy to cool down here on a hot day.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 700 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains Yes
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Camping Nearby, Creek / River, Natural Play Area, Playground, Shaded Hike, Visitor Center, Waterfall, and Wildlife Viewing

WHY IT’S A FAVORITE
“I love going behind the falls with my girls when our family is in a rough patch for whatever reason—and we make wishes from behind the waterfall. The negative ions and energy of the falls are exhilarating and feel cleansing. I love the North Falls trailhead because the views are amazing and it’s less trafficked. South Falls boasts the two big waterfalls we walk behind for wish making, so that section is a favorite as well.” —MEGAN LUCAS 

Trail Contributor

[Total: 1    Average: 2/5]

Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.

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