The Trail of Ten Falls

April 20, 2009 (Updated January 19, 2013)

“Rain, rain, go away, come again another day.”

Have you ever found yourself humming this well-known ditty on a gray April afternoon?


Yeah, right!

Fact is, endless spring showers that are splintered only by occasional slices of sunshine is the way of life in the northwest corner of the West from March through May. And if you’re new to this country, here’s my best advice: “Get used to it!”

Since there’s little to do about it, why not find the beauty — no, make that the delight–in the Oregon outdoors when the rain seems to fall from above in buckets.

I suggest you scoot into the hills near Silverton to a state park guaranteed to deliver huge, powerful, surging natural events that captivate your eyes, your ears, and perhaps your soul.

At Silver Falls State Park, fourteen foamy white curtains whirl and ripple and tumble and shimmer at one of the most delightful parklands in Oregon.

Adam Bacher, an Oregon resident and noted landscape photographer, says he’s lucky enough to capture the falls from every angle. Bacher’s a pro who finds the walking is pure pleasure inside Oregon’s largest state parkland. In fact, across more than 9,000 acres, you will find many waterfalls that boom and seem to shout for your attention. As we hiked, Bacher explained that mountain snowmelt accompanying the annual spring rains builds the south and north forks of Silver Creek to swollen threads of whitewater.

The two of us paused just yards away from the full force of the majestic and loud South Falls. “In one afternoon, on foot, you can see three major waterfalls and several smaller ones in less than a mile and a half of easy hiking.”

We held tight to the steel guardrail alongside the ten-foot-wide trail and were just about to duck behind the famous whopper waterfall that’s on the Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park.

Down the Trail of Ten Falls, Bacher offered a photo tip: let each waterfall guide you to their larger scenes: “Each item in nature is in it’s own unique context and so the more of that kind of foreground that I can show, I think the more it enhances the photo…I mean those cracks are literally layers of lava and who knows, a million years apart, a couple hundred thousand years apart…the geology here is just fascinating.”

Another incredible way to enjoy this part of Oregon is the Silver Falls Tour Route. Consider it an old fashioned Sunday drive through this corner of the Willamette Valley and make it a day-long affair. It’s a tour once taken, you’ll never forget!

About The

Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.