July 15, Day 43: Silver Falls should be a National Park. Jean and I assess every hike in terms of it’s “payoff” – the reward for the effort. Typically, this is a great view or wildlife. This park has a ten-fold payoff: ten stunning waterfalls in a single eight-mile loop hike! Three of the falls are over 100 feet tall, with the highest at 178 feet. The trail cuts behind the falls in four places, with sunshine and rainbows before you as you rest in the cool of the rock alcoves. A huge payoff!
Ten Falls Hike
The Trail of Ten Falls is a moderate hike that largely follows Silver Creek through this magnificent state park. The government considered the park for NP status in the 1920s, but it didn’t make the cut (pun intended) as decades of logging had left it stark and stump-filled. The CCC instead made it a demonstration area for rehabilitating logged land. Workers built Stone shelters, hacked out hiking trails, and replanted the forest. Decades later, their efforts paid off; the park is beautiful today.
At the tail end of the hike, we found what looked like golden raspberries along the trail. We learned later these were salmonberries. If we had but known sooner, we would have picked a bucket or two for lunch!
At trail’s end, we ambled over to a CCC-built shelter and dropped our exhausted selves on a bench. As we ate our chicken on focaccia sandwiches and recovered, we watched the children laughing and playing in Silver Creek. Wide and shallow with a solid rock slab underneath, it made for happy feet. We decided to join, and the cool water made our feet happy, too, capping a great hike.