A February ramble in Silver Falls State Park

Winter storms were coming again later this week, but dry, warmer weather held for a February ramble in Silver Falls State Park. The 18 mile ramble included waterfalls, meadows and forests on an early dry gray morning with few other people surprisingly – and they all near the two trailheads.

The Ramble’s Route (recorded track)

Left home around 5:00am and arrived at North Falls trailhead around 6:45 … just dark enough for a headlamp and my car was the only one in the parking lot.

Temperatures were above 40 so no ice. Went west on the ‘falls trail’ first to South Falls and then turned around returning on same trail, avoiding the “Rim Trail” (a rather boring trail imho). After stopping at the car for water, snack and tea, the ramble headed up the Perimeter Trail as far as Rackett Ridge trail (a mountain bike trail, really) and then Roemer’s Meadow trail back to North Falls.

Trail conditions were perfect for February in Oregon – limited mud in the obvious places, but never to my boot uppers.

My original plan intended to do full Perimeter Trail, but after 3 miles boredom set in and I returned to the falls.

A 1.5 hour drive each way put the Carbon Karma tax at 9 (3 hours total driving x 3) – the total recorded track was 6 hours 38 minutes – that karma deficit was covered by the earlier Ridgeline hikes

The Falls

A most popular trail goes around and under all the major waterfalls in the park – again, I avoided the Rim Trail – and finished this section before the crowds showed up. (the top left photo is South Falls and looking closely humans off to the right help grok size)

Meadows and Forests

While the Perimeter Trail is signed ‘Backcountry’ it doesn’t feel like it, more like a tree farm. However, there were a couple of small pockets of very, very old forest that were remarkable – but sooo small. Artifacts of timber harvesting remain as well.


When I arrived back at the North Falls th, the parking lot was completely full and cars were waiting on the road to get in … crowded!

Recommendation / Summary

For the carbon karma tax, this destination is not worth it. While the waterfalls are spectacularly beautiful, the long trails are limited and the crowds are large making the carbon tax even worse. I would go again with friends to make it a leisurely walk around the waterfalls very early in the morning to avoid the largest crowds that seem to show up 10-2. For a long-distance ramble or day hike, there are better places within same driving distance.

A February ramble in Silver Falls State Park hit the mark this time, but not good enough to repeat this year.

2 Responses

  • Some place I have not been, not sure about Dad. Your pictures from last year indicated quite a bit of ice on trails, different time of year? Love, mom

    • It was almost 1 year to the day when last visited Silver Falls with all the ice (2-26 was the post). Last year – Never know when ice / snow comes to Willamette Valley in the winter, but when it shows up it typically makes an entrance.

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