Saturday, July 6, 2013

Silver Falls State Park - A Haven for Hikers of All Skill Levels

This week my good friend Rose and I took seven kids to Silver Falls State Park for a hiking/swimming/picnic adventure.  Rose had never been to Silver Falls State Park and I had so much fun showing her around.  It is only an hour and ten minute, scenic, drive from our house in Newberg.  We passed a field full of flowers just outside Mt. Angel.  Its beauty was so captivating that I pulled over on the way home to get some photographs.

Silver Falls State Park is a haven for hikers of all skill levels.  You can hike as little (as in NONE) or as much (nine miles to see it all) as you want.  The Trail of Ten Waterfalls showcases ten waterfalls in nine gorgeous miles of hiking on wide, well manicured trails.  The kids and I hiked the entire trail last year with Sarah but our mission this visit was to relax, not wear ourselves out covering the entire park in one day.
taking in the view of South Falls

Lower South Falls - see the boys behind it?
Many of the waterfalls have carved out caves in the cliffs behind them and the hiking trails go directly behind the waterfalls.  The kids love playing in the caves and climbing the rock faces.  The Canyon Trail follows an inviting creek in the canyon floor.  There is easy access to the creek to cool off and catch crayfish.
climbing, climbing, climbing

the boys

cute girls
The South Falls Day Use Area is really inviting.  It has multiple picnic tables and shelters, flush toilets and drinking fountains, a playground and a designated swimming area.  It even has a snack shack if you get a craving for an ice cream cone.
I really like this silhouette of Rose and the little girls
We picnicked first.  Then took the kids on a small hike.  We covered two miles in two hours, taking time for photos, cave exploring, rock climbing, and playing in the creek.  We kind of let the kids set the agenda and it led to minimal whining and maximum fun.

group shot behind Lower South Falls
When we got back to the day use area, we had a snack and then the kids went swimming while Rose and I sat on blankets in the sun and talked.
tired little hikers
We spent the entire day at the park.  No one wanted to leave, but we had eaten through all the food we packed and the sunshine and outdoor activity had reduced the kids to "near starvation."  A little fried chicken from Popeyes on the way home finished off a really, really fun day.
everything is better with a friend
If you live locally and need a fun place to spend the day, I highly recommend taking your family to Silver Falls State Park.  It's beyond crowded on the weekend so go on a week day if you can swing it. There is a $5 per vehicle entry fee that you can purchase in the park.  If you have a state park pass, you can get in for free.

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