I’m 5 months into my 6-month solo road trip and I still have so much to see and do. I feel as though I’m in the movie European Vacation when they are rushing through all the sites before their vacation ends. At the same time, I like to relax and enjoy the interesting homes where I’m staying. I rely heavily on Airbnb, Yelp, and TripAdvisor for lodging, food and things to do. After spending 4 days enjoying the parks and the residential areas of Portland, I’m on the road again but not with Willie. Next stop on my adventure, Silver Falls State Park. As you are probably aware, I’m an introvert, country girl. I’m come to the city to enjoy the natural landscape of the parks. Essentially that is what this road trip is about, the natural beauty.
I find Silver Falls State Park on Yelp. It looks beautiful and its sort of on my way to Eugene via the back roads. There is so much to see on a country road. John Denver’s Country Roads song just popped into my head. After a few wrong turns, (GPS is not very reliable when it comes to parks), I find the entrance. It’s a beautiful spring day and there are many people who had the same idea. I pay the $5 entrance fee and study the brochure and trail map. It’s the largest state park in Oregon covering over 9000 acres with an extensive trail system including walking trails, horse trails, and bike paths. The 8.7 mile Canyon Creek trail follows the Silver Creek where 10 waterfalls are formed throughout the river.
Before starting I realize a pit stop is in order since there are no restrooms on the paths. I decided to start with the Canyon Trail, and the first waterfall, South Falls which is near the parking lot. I hear the roaring of the water as it tumbles over the cliff, dropping 177 feet into the pool below before continuing its journey downstream. It’s amazing how small creeks can create such massive waterfalls. I walk to the edge and peer over. The drop is amazing. I stand and listen in awe.
After a few minutes, I continue down the narrow dirt path which is a series of switchbacks I feel as though I’m in a tropical jungle. Rich green moss hugging the rocky cliffs. The path is carved into the side of the cliff with rocky overhangs. The sturdy wooden guard rail prevents us from falling down the cliff. The path leads to the waterfall in an open cavern called an amphitheater. The sound is deafening but what a sight to behold. Walking behind the waterfall is an amazing experience.
I video and take pictures of this incredible natural beauty. It reminds me of a celebrity enjoying the attention of its fans. I turn one last time to admire it before I continue on my journey. The path winds through the moss-laden forest following the South Fork Silver Creek. A series of stairs leads to the Lower South Falls which is a smaller waterfall than its sister but still breathtaking in its own right. Canyon Trail diverges to the right following the North Fork Silver Creek. One can follow the Maple Ridge trail back or continue on. I choose the latter.
I’ve never been in a rain forest but Silver Falls is what I consider a rain forest. The path continues to Lower North Falls and then a short trail leads to Double Falls a series of two waterfalls in one hence the name. This one has an amphitheater where one can walk behind it. It’s not as high as South falls but it’s wider and seems to have more water cascading off it.
The dirt paths are beautiful as they wind through the enchanted forest. Even though there are many people, tranquility can still be found. The next waterfall is Drake Falls followed by the Middle North Falls. I continue a little ways past Winter trail to see Twin Falls before doubling back to the Winter Trail. I follow the path to the Winter Falls watching it plunge 134’ down the rocky cliff bouncing its way to the creek below. This is the last waterfall I encounter. It’s close to 4 pm and I need to get back. I still have a ways to go. I will have to see the North Falls on another day. I feel a tinge of sadness, knowing that I probably won’t but I enjoyed this beautiful park. Maybe someday I will return.