Fall in Love with Fall at Oregon’s Golden & Silver Falls

golden and silver falls oregon
C. Dguez L. / Google

Hey there, fellow adventurers! If you're anything like me and are always on the lookout for the next hidden gem to explore, well, have I got a spot for you. Just east of Coos Bay, away from the usual tourist traps, there's this absolute beauty: the Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area. Imagine towering waterfalls surrounded by ancient firs and cedars – yup, it's as dreamy as it sounds.

During my visit, I took a leisurely stroll down the Golden Falls path and was pleasantly surprised by its accessibility. This trail is beautifully flat and well-trodden, making it perfect for beginners or anyone looking for a relaxed hike. The short distance to the falls means you'll be at the breathtaking view in no time. Conveniently, there are picnic tables at the trail's base, alongside restrooms, so you can make a day of it. Interestingly, recent whispers around the trail suggest a face-to-face Sasquatch encounter—adding a sprinkle of mystery to the adventure. But one thing's for sure: while pictures might give you a glimpse, they truly can't capture the falls' majestic essence.

Now, while this place is a stunner year-round, there's something about the fall season that makes it extra magical as far as Oregon trailheads go.

Oregon, with its expansive landscapes and varied terrains, holds many secrets. But come fall, one of those secrets bursts forth in a symphony of colors and sounds: the Golden & Silver Falls. This mesmerizing spot becomes the very embodiment of autumn's charm, as the waterfalls stand juxtaposed against a fiery backdrop of reds, oranges, and golds.

RELATED: Explore Fall In Oregon - 12 Places To See Gorgeous Fall Colors

Start off on U.S. 101, tracing the Oregon coast southward. As the cliffs of Cape Perpetua rise beside you and the Oregon Dunes stretch beyond, steer eastward at North Bend's bridge. Wind through 27 miles of picturesque backroads until the trees, adorned in their autumnal best, part to reveal the waterfalls’ majestic allure.

Golden and Silver Falls, while not the tallest of Oregon's cascades, wear the crown when it comes to sheer seasonal beauty. Nestled in a rainforest setting, these falls transform into a riot of colors in the fall, further enhancing their allure. The vibrant hues of the leaves play with the cascading waters, painting a picture so ethereal, it feels almost out of a fairy tale.

Though the journey from Newport or even farther off from Portland, Bend, and Eugene may seem long, every twist and turn rewards you with glimpses of Oregon's fall palette. The state park, spread across 157 acres, becomes especially alive during this season. Fiery red maple leaves, golden alders, and evergreens create a canvas that's a treat for the soul.

Kick off your exploration at the Silver Falls trail, accessible from the parking area. As you meander through, you'll witness the Silver Falls, now framed by trees showcasing their fall brilliance. The water seems to dance with the colorful leaves, and on a sunlit day, rainbows play at its base.

Starting the adventure is pretty straightforward. There's this marked trail that takes you right up to Silver Falls. And as you're walking, you're weaving through this cool mix of trees – alder, maple, fir, and Oregon myrtle. And then boom! There's Silver Falls, making this grand entrance with water gushing down onto mossy rocks below. If you're lucky enough to visit during a rainy spell, trust me, the drama level? Off the charts.

Golden Falls awaits next. On your path, let the crunch of dried leaves beneath your feet guide you. At the trail's fork, take the right turn first, leading you through a woodland now ablaze in autumn shades. The Golden Falls, with its cliff-guarded cascade, seems to glow in the light, reflecting the surrounding foliage.

Double back to the fork and challenge yourself with the uphill climb to the top of Golden Falls. En route, steal a glimpse of the Silver Falls from another vantage point. The moss-covered boulders lining the way seem to shimmer in varying shades of green and gold.

History whispers along this trail too. Originally forged in 1901 by pioneers, it echoes tales of early settlers like Dr. C.B. Golden. But during the fall, history takes a backseat to nature's spectacle. At the trail’s pinnacle, watch Glenn Creek playfully journey until it dramatically cascades as the Golden Falls. Set against a horizon of autumnal forests, it's an unforgettable vista.

So, why wait? If there's ever a time to witness Golden & Silver Falls in all their glory, it's during Oregon's breathtaking fall season. Load up on pumpkin-spiced anything, grab your coziest sweater, and set off for an experience drenched in autumn's magic. Happy leaf-peeping!

Directions from Portland to Golden & Silver Falls State Natural Area:

  1. Get on I-5 S from NW Broadway.
  2. Follow I-5 S and OR-38 W/State Hwy 38 W to US-101 S in Reedsport.
  3. Follow US-101 S to Coos Bay.
  4. Take Coos River Hwy from US-101 S.
  5. Continue on Coos River Hwy. Drive to Golden and Silver Falls Rd NE.

Estimated Drive Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Directions from Eugene:

  1. Take I-105 W from Willamette St.
  2. Follow OR-126 W and OR-36 W to OR-126 W/State Hwy 126 W in Mapleton.
  3. Get on US-101 S in Florence from OR-126 W.
  4. Follow US-101 S to Coos Bay.
  5. Take Coos River Hwy from US-101 S.
  6. Continue on Coos River Hwy. Drive to Golden and Silver Falls Rd NE.

Estimated Drive Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Directions from Bend:

  1. Get on US-97 S from NW Wall St and NW Franklin Ave.
  2. Follow US-97 S and OR-138 W to S Old Pacific Hwy in Tri-City.
  3. Take exit 136 from I-5 S.
  4. Get on OR-42 W in Green.
  5. Follow OR-42 W and Coos Bay-Roseburg Hwy to Golden and Silver Falls Rd NE.

Estimated Drive Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Directions from Newport, Oregon:

  1. Start on US-101 S from SW Alder St and SW Coast Hwy.
  2. Follow US-101 S to Coos Bay.
  3. Take Coos River Hwy from US-101 S.
  4. Continue on Coos River Hwy. Drive to Golden and Silver Falls Rd NE.

Estimated Drive Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes