Hiking: The Maple Ridge Trail at Silver Falls State Park
It seems like the colors this fall are particularly amazing in the northwest. Fall is in it’s prime right now and I highly recommend heading to Silver Falls State Park to catch the colors at their peak. I was there a couple weekends ago and didn’t have very much time, so chose the shortest hiking trail. This park is well known for the Trail of 10 falls, which is an 8.7 mile loop that had to be saved for another day. Luckily, within our short route we saw everything I could have possibly wanted to see. We had a stunning view of South Falls, framed perfectly with golden yellow leaves and the sun poking through the morning mist. We got all the fall colors we could have hoped for and we finished the hike with a walk behind two waterfalls. It was a cold morning (35 degrees!) but we warmed up fast and honestly were so struck by the beauty of fall that the temperature didn’t phase us.
Hike: Maple Ridge Trail at Silver Falls
Date: October 14th, 2017
Hiking Buddies: Lauren and Stacey
Total distance: 2.6 miles (loop)
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Permit required: Oregon State Parks Pass ($30 for the year or $5 for the day)
Beer pairing: We didn’t have time to stop but in the past when I finished a hike in this area I have gone to Seven Brides Brewing
We started at the South Falls Lodge Trailhead and took a quick little jaunt right away for a view of South Falls. We then took a left on the Maple Ridge Trail, which began to drop down into the Silver Creek Canyon. After about a mile we came to a junction with the Canyon Trail.
We turned left here and proceeded up the South Fork of Silver Creek. Soon we came to Lower South Falls and the trail looped behind the waterfall itself. After crossing behind the waterfall, the trail climbed several switchbacks of stairs and continued upstream.
After another half mile, the trail came to the most popular waterfall in the park, South Falls. The Canyon Trail crosses a bridge here and heads back up the canyon wall, but we took an alternate route behind the waterfall and climbed back to our initial view point of the falls, this time looking a little different as the morning mist had cleared. We ended with a quick coffee stop in the lodge, where there was a cozy fire burning. (source: oregonhikersfieldguide.org)