Experience a Beautiful New Trailhead at Silver Falls State Park

silver falls
Silver Falls State Park, Photo by Tyler Willford / That Oregon Life

On Monday, Oregon's Crown Jewel, Silver Falls State Park, unveiled a fresh approach for visitors to experience the beauty it offers, by introducing a new public trailhead parking space and a hiking trail.

Silver Falls State Park is a magnificent natural area well-known for its beautiful waterfalls. Established in 1933, the park covers more than 9,000 acres and is the largest state park in Oregon.

north falls, silver falls state park, oregon, waterfalls
North Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Ian Sane

According to Zach Urness of the Statesman Journal, the new North Canyon Day Use Area is located at the park's northern end or the "Silverton side", off Highway 214, and offers a parking lot capable of accommodating up to 59 vehicles. In addition, it has an exciting half-mile trail leading to a remarkable viewpoint of the North Falls.

Importantly, the new trail is ADA-compliant, ensuring wheelchair users can comfortably navigate the one-mile round trip to the newly established viewpoint.

"After five years of planning and behind-the-scenes efforts, it's extremely exciting to finally welcome visitors to this new addition," Chris Gilliand, the park manager at Silver Falls, told the Statesman Journal. "This spectacular viewpoint of North Falls offers a unique experience compared to other waterfall views within the park."

Do you love Oregon?

Sign up for monthly emails full of local travel inspiration and fun trip ideas. In each newsletter we'll share upcoming events, new things to do, hot dining spots and great travel ideas.

North Canyon Day Use Area, new trailhead, silver falls state park, oregon
Image by Silver Falls park manager Chris Gilliand.

Hikers can extend their exploration after reaching North Falls, continuing an additional half mile to the North Falls Trailhead, providing access to the rest of the park.

The newly-established trailhead is situated where the park's old group camping and nature play area used to be. If you're approaching from Silverton, it's the first right turn within the park. For those coming from the opposite side, you'll need to continue past the South Falls and North Falls trailheads, before making a left turn to reach the site. The new day-use area includes picnic tables and trail signage.

North Canyon Day Use Area, new trailhead, silver falls state park, oregon
The new parking lot for North Canyon Day Use Area. Image by Silver Falls park manager Chris Gilliand.

One of the key objectives is to manage and evenly distribute the park's growing influx of visitors, which has been ranging between 1.3 and 1.5 million per year recently.

This inauguration marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the park, with future plans including a new campground and visitor center on the park's north side, expected to be completed within the next 3 to 5 years. The Silver Falls enhancements come with a price tag of about $9 million to $11 million, financed by a $50 million grant from the Oregon Legislature. The funding, sourced from general obligation bonds, will also be allocated to various projects across multiple state parks.

silver falls state park hike, oregon, waterfalls
Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Sathish J via Flickr CC2.

The park's most distinctive feature is the "Trail of Ten Falls", a nationally recognized scenic trail that passes a series of stunning waterfalls along a rocky canyon. The trail, just over 8 miles long, includes a path that goes behind the falls, offering a unique perspective. The highest and perhaps the most impressive of these is South Falls, which drops 177 feet.

Apart from the waterfalls, the park offers more than 35 miles of backcountry trails for mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking. Wildlife in the park includes various bird species, deer, coyote, and many others.

Visit stateparks.oregon.gov for more information.