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Trails: Silver Falls State Park

South Falls Silver Falls State Park Oregon Salem

Long known as a magical place where one can experience a large number of gorgeous waterfalls in a relatively limited area, Silver Falls State Park is also becoming increasingly known as a popular destination for trail runners.

At 9,000 acres, Oregon’s largest state park boasts more than 30 miles of trails, plus an additional 12 miles of fire roads. SFSP’s most famous—the “Trail of Ten Falls”—actually combines several trails into an 8.7-mile loop for stunning, up-close views of the park’s namesake features.

With elevations in the park ranging from about 1,000′ to over 2,300′, the trails are suitable for year-round running, though ice and the occasional dusting of snow can enliven a winter visit.

Be prepared for lots of stiff, short climbs if you choose to venture into the park’s more remote areas, but you’ll be rewarded with greater solitude, as most park visitors flock to the more popular waterfalls loop.

The park has a nice website with trail maps and additional info, but I strongly recommend picking up a hardcopy map (about $8 at REI) because of the greater detail and scale provided.

Directions: From Portland, take I-5 south to the Woodburn exit and follow the signs for Hwy 214 through town. Continue on 214 through Silverton; the park is about 15 miles southeast of here, about 1.5 to 2 hours from Portland. See the park web site for more details.