I arrived around midday from Multnomah Falls, just outside of Portland. It’s gonna be hard to top that waterfall, I remember thinking. Autumn leaves surrounded the trailhead and parking lot on this crisp, mid-October morning. I headed along one of the many trails towards the woods, not really sure where I were supposed to be going. After a few yards, I could hear it. The roar of water pouring over the edge of a cliff and into the river below. I banked left toward the sound and saw it peeking out between the trees: South Falls.
The Trail Of Ten Falls is located outside the town of Silverton, Oregon. It is about 8 miles long, and consists of the Canyon Trail and the Rim Trail in Silver Falls State Park. There is a $5 daily use fee to park at the site. The main entrance is at South Falls, however you can park at North Falls and do the hike this way as well. The directions below are from South Falls, but you can follow them backwards if starting at North Falls heading counterclockwise along the loop.
Start the hike at the South Falls entrance. Head past the bathroom and to the left you’ll see South Falls: the first waterfall along the Trail Of Ten Falls. Continue down the stairs, where you’ll cross underneath South Falls and to the Canyon Trail.
Watch your head while walking behind the waterfalls, as the caves hang low at some points.
You will come to a sign directing you to the next waterfall (Lower South Falls) at .8 miles away. From this point, North Falls is 3.9 miles. That is the turnaround point on the trail.
There is also a bridge here that leads back up to the entrance. It’s worth noting that pets aren’t allowed on the Canyon trail.
After the .8 mile walk, you’ll reach lower South falls, a much smaller waterfall than South Falls, but still epic.
You can walk behind this waterfall, as well!!
Continue another mile along a beautiful, wooded path following the river. The water level was very low during late fall, so I was able to cross the creek no problem to explore the area.
I probably stopped every 5 minutes to gaze in awe at the foliage. I mean look at those fall colors!!
After a mile, you’ll reach Lower North Falls, the third waterfall on the trail. I imagine it is much wider during the spring and summer, but it was a small trickle when I hiked the Trail Of Ten Falls in late October.
Just after Lower North Falls, you’ll come to an off trail to the left. This leads you to Double Falls, the fourth waterfall on the trail. Unfortunately, Double Falls was nothing more than a trickle when I visited. I plan on going back in the Spring when water levels are higher to see all the falls in action.
After doubling back at Double Falls (haha), continue to the left along the Canyon Trail.
After less than a quarter mile, you’ll reach Drake Falls, waterfall No. 5! There’s really only one view of Drake Falls, which is achieved by walking to the top corner of the deck and craning your neck just right to see it. It’s pretty, but not nearly as impressive as it’s neighbors.
Another few short yards away is waterfall No. 6: Middle North Falls, coming in at 106 feet tall!
This is the third waterfall (South and Lower South Falls being the first two) that you can walk behind!
Both photographers and non-photographers alike will have a blast on this trail! Between snapping pics of these epic waterfalls, and finding the perfect frame between the trees, the Trail Of Ten Falls is an exciting location to shoot!
Head back and follow the trail uphill and to the right to Twin Falls, waterfall No. 7. You will come to an intersection with a sign pointing straight, towards Twin Falls, and to the right, over a bridge towards Winter Falls. To continue along the whole Trail Of Ten Falls, continue straight. You will pass Winter Falls on the way back along the Rim Trail.
At 31 feet, Twin Falls is dwarfed by it’s bigger neighbors. It’s also hard to get a glimpse of. Basically, when you see it through the trees (as pictured above), that’s the best view you’re gonna get of it.
However, North Falls is stunning!
The 8th waterfall on the trail, and the 4th you can walk behind, North Falls has the most grand of the caves on the trail. Definitely a great halfway point to stop for lunch or a quick snack!
From here, continue up to the Rim Trail and to the left, towards Upper North Falls. This leads you past the parking lot at North Falls, where you can also start the Trail Of Ten Falls from. The calm, secluded Upper North Falls was filled with reflections that framed the waterfall perfectly.
This is the turn-around point on the trail. From here, follow the trail you came on until you cross the parking lot again, and this time stay to the left to follow the Rim Trail back to South Falls. It’s about three miles back from here.
You’ll approach Winter Falls, the last waterfall on the trail, after 1.5 miles.
Unfortunately, Winter Falls, was all dried up as well, so I decided to skip it. I’ll update this post this coming spring, when I visit again and the water levels are higher. Subscribe to stay updated!
What was a hike you did that took your breath away? Do you like waterfalls you can walk behind? Leave a comment below!
– Sara Vozel