I’m sitting here at my PC this morning feeling a little blue dreaming of the freedom on the road. The Coach is looking sad parked at a storage facility nearby. I think It’s time to revisit fond memories of our travels last Summer.
If you remember Jagger and I were traveling with my friend Sydney. We just left the Oregon Coast and headed inland.
Who isn’t inspired by waterfalls? In our last Oregon post, we headed North on Oregon Coast Highway 101. We catch up there as the Workhorse effortlessly pulls the Coach across the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Inside the Workhorse Sydney (our guest), Jagger and I enjoy the view to our left. The Pacific Ocean passing by our window. It’s a solemn moment, knowing we won’t see the Pacific Ocean again on this trip. Even Jagger seems sad. He loves running on the open beaches. To our right, the Fishing Village we visited while camped in the area just South. It’s a mostly clear day, perfect for traveling down the trail. The Workhorse seems ready for the challenge and the Coach reluctantly follows behind.
Arriving Silver Falls State Park
Once over the bridge, our trail turns to the right on Highway 20 east. Then a sixty mile drive through the beautiful Oregon coastal mountains and finally north on Interstate 5.
Just outside of Salem, Oregon we head further East over flat farmland with a number of large Christmas tree farms. Then suddenly the road takes a dip and a few sharp turns dropping into a hidden valley. Woe Workhorse, these turns require less speed towing 5+ tons. The traffic seems to be going much faster than the posted speed limit. I’m afraid they will have to wait for our party as we slide around the curves.
The scenery here has changed dramatically from the farmland above. In this secluded valley, we find ourselves in a beautiful forest of Douglas Fir, Hemlock and Cedar trees laced with fern. It’s classified a temperate rain forest, which was once clear-cut in the early 1900’s. Not too much further and there it is on the right, Silver Falls State Park.
We confirm our reservation at the manned ranger gate, and then enter the park slowly following the directions, oops missed that turn and no place to turn around ? We drive on and finally find a small road that I’m able to back up into. Whew, that was a tight turn, we almost bent the Workhorse and Coach in half. Lucky I ended up buying a long-bed truck or we would have rearranged the back end of the cab.
Turning around we got going in the right direction and soon find our campsite, number 038. This is a big campground with lots of facilities. When approaching the site I see it’s going to be another rough site to back into as the angle of the site was almost opposed to the one lane camp paved road. After negotiating the four or five point turn, we called it home for the next five days and nights.
We walked to the South Falls today after driving to the parking area and trailhead nearby. It’s about a two and a half mile hike with a 15% grade, over a quarter mile stretch. It’s a beautiful sight for sure. Sydney and I were both exhausted when returning and realized we probably won’t make all the falls here.
I read there are ten waterfalls at this state park. To see all ten you would require hiking over ten miles. In addition to the falls hikes, there are over twenty-five miles of hiking trails, along with a four-mile bike path and fourteen miles of horse trails. Pretty impressive. While there are quite a few fellow travelers hiking along the trails today, it’s still a peaceful place to visit.
Hiking more than my typical two miles is something I have difficulty accomplishing anymore, at least comfortably. At times I feel like I’m slowing Sydney down, but she is accommodating.
After our hike to South Falls, we stopped by the visitor center (Gift Shop) near the Cafe. There we wandered around admiring the items on display buying only a postcard or two. We then finished the hike walking back to the Workhorse and drove back to our camp.
Once back at camp, we picked up Jagger and went for an afternoon drive. The closest town nearby is Silverton. A very small town with a few stores, nothing very big. On our drive, we passed “Silver Falls Country Store”. Oh, that looks interesting…as we flew by. We decided to stop and go back. It was a small cafe just off the road that advertised ice cream and shakes. We decided to have a late lunch/early dinner and ordered a burger with all the trimmings. Definitely worth the calories if you are in the area. After, we continue our drive to Silverton and picked up a few grocery items before returning back to camp for the night.
Safe Travels…Gary and Jagger
More Photos: Silver Falls State Park
Campground Review: Silver Falls State Park