Sahalie Falls, Oregon

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Sahalie Falls in September 2015

There are two Sahalie Falls, and they aren’t that distant from each other (maybe 60 miles or so as the bird flies, 110 miles driving distance). The Sahalie Falls near Umbrella Falls isn’t as easy to get to as it used to be. On the other hand, this Sahalie Falls (along with Kooshah Falls), is very easy to visit.

The biggest difficulty might be getting to the vicinity of the falls. It’s about a 150 mile drive from Portland and a 55 mile drive from Redmond/Bend. I started in Portland, and in one day I was able to hit Gooch Falls, Shellburg Falls, Sahalie and Koosah Falls. It was a long drive, but most of these falls don’t require a difficult hike.

Once you get to the parking area for the falls, the hike to the falls is extremely short: only about 100 feet or so. And after arriving, you’ll probably be rewarded with an amazing waterfall. I visited in September, which for some waterfalls is a low volume time since there may not be much rain during the summer months. And yet, as you can see, Sahalie Falls was pretty intense. Overall, this is an awesome waterfall, and you’ll be able to see Koosah Falls also (along with some other “smaller” waterfalls, which are still impressive).

Directions:

  1. There are multiple ways to get to the falls, though they will all require some drive. If you’re in Albany/Corvallis, you could head east on US-20. From Bend, head west on US-20. If you’re in Eugene, head east on OR-126.
  2. The falls are found on OR-126…If you’re on US-20, you would turn and head south on OR-126. If you’re already on OR-126, it would obviously be a “straight-shot”, though it’ll be a curvy drive. There are two parking areas, one for Sahalie Falls and one for Koosah Falls, though there is a trail that connects both falls.
  3. The Sahalie Falls parking area is the further north of the 2 parking areas, and once you park there, it’s a short 100 feet to the falls. (Check out Lower Sahalie Falls downstream.)

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 73′
Hike: 200 ft round-trip

Where in the World is Sahalie Falls?

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North Falls, Oregon

North Falls in May 2010

If you’re looking to see 10+ waterfalls in one 2-4 hour hike, then Silver Falls State Park near Salem, Oregon is a spectacular choice. It’s not a long drive from Portland, and you enter into stunningly beautiful forests. At one starting point, you have South Falls, which is a really impressive waterfall. There are then a number of other amazing waterfalls along the Ten Waterfalls Hike, which has more than ten waterfalls (at least by my count).

Think of North Falls as the bookend to South Falls. There is one other waterfall, Upper North Falls, that is further upstream, but some people might not even notice that one. (It requires a deviation from the loop, even though it’s for a very short distance.) There is a parking area that is very close to North Falls, though it is smaller, if I remember correctly. North Falls is awesomely cool because you can walk behind the falls under the very large rock overhang. (There are multiple walk-behind falls in this park.) It doesn’t hurt that the falls clocks in at 136′ tall.

The weather fluctuated during the few hours I was there in early May 2010. It was rainy and somewhat cold for the first half of the hike. The sun then came out just as I was approaching North Falls, making it just a bit more difficult to capture good photographs. As I started back on the trail, it clouded up again, and by the time I reached Winter Falls, it seemed appropriate that flurries were falling from the sky! Even in the cold, it was still a great experience, and one that I will likely repeat again. In all, it’s about a 9 mile hike round-trip.

Directions:

  1. From Salem, drive east on US-22 to the junction of US-22 and OR-214.
  2. Head north on OR-214 for 15 miles, following the numerous signs to Silver Falls State Park.
  3. This is where parking at the North Falls parking lot would be the much better choice if you want to view North Falls. If you park there, it’s just a short 0.1 mile hike to the falls. You can still connect to the Ten Waterfalls Trail from either parking area.

Accessibility: 10/10 (especially starting from North Falls parking area), 6/10 (for the whole hike)
Height: 136′
Length of Hike: 8.7 miles round-trip (to see all waterfalls in the park)

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The view as you walk behind the falls.

Where in the World is North Falls?

South Falls, Oregon

South Falls in May 2010

It’s been almost four years to the day since I visited Silver Falls State Park, and by random chance, today is the day I’ll mention one of the main waterfalls in the park. I was going to suggest it was one of the more impressive waterfalls, but many of the waterfalls in the park are impressive, so it’s hard to suggest just one. This is one of the taller and wider ones, and will possibly be one of the first you encounter, depending on where you start your journey.

There are at least ten waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park (as suggested by the Ten Waterfalls Trail). By following this trail, you will find waterfall after great waterfall. (I’m not going to repeat all of them here. Click on the “Silver Falls State Park” category or tag above to see the other posts.) From the parking area I chose, South Falls was the first waterfall I saw along the hike. It was a spectacular start! You may notice there is a trail that goes behind the falls. I noticed a number of other people taking that trail, though if memory serves correctly, I did not choose that path. There are other falls that you can walk behind that are directly on the main trail, and I was more than happy with those experiences. (By the end of the hike, I was wet and not particularly warm, and my thoughts were not focused on getting wet even more…I’m a bit hydrophobic.)

I don’t really have much else to say about South Falls. There isn’t really any need for convincing. If you even remotely like waterfalls, Silver Falls State Park should be on your list!

Directions:

  1. From Salem, drive east on US-22 to the junction of US-22 and OR-214.
  2. Head north on OR-214 for 15 miles, following the numerous signs to Silver Falls State Park.
  3. You can park at either the South Falls or North Falls parking areas. The South Falls parking area is larger, and the Waterfall Trail leads you past all of the falls.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 177′
Length of Hike: 8.7 miles round-trip (to see all waterfalls in the park)

Where in the World is South Falls?

Waterfall in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

A small but not insignificant waterfall in Silver Falls State Park (May 2010)

Silver Falls State Park has ten main waterfalls that are named. I think there’s an eleventh that is also named, and while it’s on the map, it’s not one that you might go searching for. It ends up that there are many other smaller waterfalls in the park. Since they’re smaller, they haven’t been named, and some logically so.

There’s one “unnamed” waterfall, though, that is pretty tall and prominent, and if you’re walking around on the Ten Waterfalls Trail, it’s pretty hard to miss. (That’s assuming that there’s water flowing, which isn’t a crazy assumption in Oregon, unless it’s really dry.) This waterfall is about 15-20′ tall or so, and because the other waterfalls around it are taller or wider, it probably got lost in the shuffle. Or maybe it has a name, but it’s been kept a secret. It’s not Hidden Falls, since it’s the exact opposite of hidden. As you’re walking along the trail, it’s on the direct opposite side of the river staring you in the face. So don’t forget “Captain Obvious Falls” the next time you visit Silver Falls State Park (which must have not been that obvious if you didn’t notice it the first time!).

Directions:

  1. From Salem, drive east on US-22 to the junction of US-22 and OR-214.
  2. Head north on OR-214 for 15 miles, following the numerous signs to Silver Falls State Park.
  3. You can park at either the South Falls or North Falls parking areas. The South Falls parking area is larger, and the Waterfall Trail leads you past all of the falls.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 8.7 miles round-trip (to see all waterfalls in the park)

Where in the World is the Waterfall in Silver Falls State Park?

Lower South Falls, Oregon

Lower South Falls in May 2010

Lower South Falls really doesn’t sound like an extremely exciting waterfall, but it is one of the amazingly beautiful waterfalls to be found in Silver Falls State Park. And there are a number of really spectacular ones!

Silver Falls State Park is a waterfall-seeker’s dream. When I counted, the were 11 named waterfalls, and at least 6 other smaller, unnamed falls. A few of the larger falls are not particularly breathtaking, but six or seven are truly amazing. Lower South Falls is one of the four waterfalls that you can walk behind (as part of the trail visiting all of the falls). It’s hard to tell in this picture, as I was taking the photograph at a different vantage point.

And just a thought…Many of Oregon’s waterfalls are just so intensely green! Obviously, the water isn’t green, but the landscape around the falls is. I can often tell Oregon (and Washington) waterfalls apart from others because of that intensity.

Directions:

  1. From Salem, drive east on US-22 to the junction of US-22 and OR-214.
  2. Head north on OR-214 for 15 miles, following the numerous signs to Silver Falls State Park.
  3. You can park at either the South Falls or North Falls parking areas. The South Falls parking area is larger, and the Waterfall Trail leads you past all of the falls.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 93′
Length of Hike: 8.7 miles round-trip (to see all waterfalls in the park)

Where in the World is Lower South Falls?

Winter Falls, Oregon

Winter Falls in May 2010

If you’re looking for a place to see numerous waterfalls in a few hours, the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park is a great choice if you are near Salem. The trail is a little under 9 miles round trip, and it can be done in three to four hours.

There are a number of different places to start along the trail, and I started near South Falls. It just so happens that based on the direction I took, Winter Falls was the last waterfall on my journey. The day started out somewhat chilly, but not terribly so. About halfway along the trail, I remember it being sunny. As I looped around North Falls, the clouds appeared, though gradually. By the time I had reached Winter Falls, it seems that the weather was trying to mimic the name of the falls (even though it was early May). It didn’t snow, but at one point it was sleeting, and it was not very warm at that point. I remember being very glad that I had dressed in layers.

The falls are right near a road, but you can’t really get a great view without heading downhill along a spur trail (that eventually connects back to a portion of the trial I had already traversed). For your perseverance, though, you will be rewarded with a view of a really beautiful (not to mention tall) waterfall. After viewing the falls, I decided to head back up the spur trail and continue along my way to the parking lot, which I had some difficulty finding.

Directions:

  1. From Salem, drive east on US-22 to the junction of US-22 and OR-214.
  2. Head north on OR-214 for 15 miles, following the numerous signs to Silver Falls State Park.
  3. You can park at either the South Falls or North Falls parking areas. The South Falls parking area is larger, and the Waterfall Trail leads you past all of the falls.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 134′
Length of Hike: 8.7 miles round-trip (to see all waterfalls in the park)

Where in the World is Winter Falls?

Upper North Falls, Oregon

Upper North Falls in May 2010

Upper North Falls is one of the waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park that could be very easily missed if you don’t stop and take the time to actively look for it. You’ll likely be hiking along the Ten Waterfalls Trail, which is rather long, but still enjoyable. I started at the parking lot near South Falls. As you walk under North Falls on the opposite side of the park, you’ll find yourself given a choice. You can head right and continue back toward South Falls. Or you can head right, cross the road, and take the short hike to Upper North Falls.

You should do this, since it’s only about 0.1 miles from that junction, and it’s not a difficult hike at all. Along the way, you’ll see one or two miniature cascades. At the end of the trail, you’ll be able to see Upper North Falls from a short distance. It’s not nearly as spectacular as some of the other falls in the park, but it’s also not the most boring of the falls either. It falls somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Directions:

  1. From Salem, drive east on US-22 to the junction of US-22 and OR-214.
  2. Head north on OR-214 for 15 miles, following the numerous signs to Silver Falls State Park.
  3. This is where parking at the North Falls parking lot would be the much better choice if you want to view Upper North Falls quickly. If you park there, it’s just a short 0.1 mile hike to the falls. You can still connect to the Ten Waterfalls Trail from either parking area.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate), 10/10 (if you just want to see this waterfall)
Height: 65′
Length of Hike: 8.7 miles round-trip (to see all waterfalls in the park)

Where in the World is Upper North Falls?