Silver Falls Tour Route
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A stone’s throw from Salem, this leisurely paced route offers a pleasing detour for I-5 travelers, rolling through peaceful countryside and quaint rural towns to Oregon’s most popular State Park. If the skies are clear, you’ll be treated to views of Mts. Hood, Adams, Jefferson, St. Helens and Rainier.
From Woodburn to Mt. Angel
The route starts in Woodburn, a culturally diverse agricultural town that shoppers know as “The Ultimate Outlet of the Northwest” featuring top-name designers and manufacturers in a sophisticated environment, and food lovers know for its authentic Mexican restaurants. You’ll also see the home of founding father, Jesse Settlemier. Heading east on Route 214, you’ll reach Mt. Angel, a town rich in Bavarian heritage as evidenced in its Benedictine Abbey, life-size glockenspiel, and its authentic Oktoberfest in September.
As you approach Silverton, it’s worth a brief detour to visit the Gallon House Covered Bridge (off Gallon House Road), Oregon’s oldest covered bridge. Oregon Route 214 continues into Silverton, a town that displays its old-fashioned charm with murals depicting Norman Rockwell paintings. Silverton’s vibrant downtown offers good restaurants, shopping and galleries. Gardeners will want to visit the Oregon Garden Resort, with stunning garden displays and botanicals, as well as a restaurant that features Northwest cuisine, with sweeping views of the gardens and the Willamette Valley beyond.
Sparkling Silver Falls
Silver Falls State Park is the largest in the Oregon State Park system, featuring a campground, conference center, and hiking, mountain biking and horse trails. Best known for its waterfalls, it attracts more than 750,000 visitors each year. The Trail of Ten Falls (Canyon Trail) winds past ten waterfalls in Silver Creek Canyon and joins the Canyon Rim Trail to complete a seven mile loop. Originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the trail runs behind several of the taller falls and along the brinks of others, providing an exhilarating excursion for hikers of all ages and abilities. If you don’t have time for a long hike, take the ¼ mile trail to Upper North Falls. The historic South Falls Lodge, constructed by the CCC in 1941, is also worth a visit.
On to Sublimity
From Silver Falls State Park, descend past vineyards and Christmas tree farms on Oregon Route 214, turning right onto Cascade Highway to Sublimity, a town that’s as peaceful as its name. (Don’t miss the Stayton-Jordan Covered Bridge at Pioneer Park, the newest covered bridge in Oregon.) In Sublimity, enjoy a walking tour of the historic downtown, featuring 19th and early 20th century buildings, two of the oldest man-made waterways in the state, and interesting antique and specialty shops. From here, the byway heads west toward the town of Turner, where you can access I-5.
related Trip Ideas
Now that the sun has finally begun to poke through the clouds, the weather is just about perfect for an afternoon hike. And I’ve found that even if the weather is unpredictable, Silver Falls is still worth the trip. I hadn’t been back to…
Recenlty my mom, my 22-month-old son and I made the drive 25 miles east of Salem to Silver Falls State Park. We made the trip on a weekday, which was a great idea. The normally busy parking lot only held about four other cars when we pulled in. The…
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Keep in mind many of the routes listed here travel through remote areas where gas stations are few and far between. And since road and weather conditions can be hazardous, even into summer, we urge you to call 800-977-6368 or check Trip Check before starting out.