I spent Saturday hiking at Silver Falls State Park. At 9,000 acres, it’s the largest state park in Oregon and includes swimming holes, horse trails, bike trails, more than 24 miles of walking trails, and many beautiful waterfalls. Deer, black bear, coyotes, and cougars live in remote areas of the park.
The 8 mile Canyon Trail of Ten Falls runs along the banks of Silver Creek and by ten waterfalls on the North and South forks. The park’s most visited waterfall is South Falls, a 177-foot cascade. Double Falls is the highest waterfall in the park and plunges 178 feet into a small tributary side canyon.
“The history of the canyon’s formation began 26 million years ago when most of Oregon was covered by ocean. After the waters of the ocean receded about 15 million years ago, the flood basalt flows of the Columbia River Basalt Group covered the sandstone that had been the ocean floor. The softer layers of sandstone beneath the basalt sheet eroded over time, creating pathways behind some of the waterfalls which Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers widened to make safe for public use. Another geologic feature is many tree chimneys or casts, formed when hot lava engulfed living trees and disintegrated them.”
It was a perfect Indian Summer day – great for hiking!