Silver Falls State Park
Rain is predicted for the next two days and sunny weather after that. Most logical choice is to go after the waterfalls. Decison making is a bit difficult because there are so many of them overhere, but Silver Falls State Park quickly seems to be the best alternative to visit. It’s not that far away from here and the park offers 10 waterfalls. One of them, South Falls, is a very pretty one, which I have photographed before. I missed the others at the time, because of a lot of rainfall.
After one and a half hours of driving, I arrive at the park. It’s raining and I wait in the car for it to stop. The sky is quite light so that shouldn’t take too long. I start with South Falls, because that one is closest by. Because of it’s surroundings there are not that many options for composition. The waterfall plummets down into a bowl and there are many trees on the rockwall on my side. Because of the heavy cloudlayer all the vegetation is lush green and because of all the rain, the waterfall is quite powerfull.
The trees have been growing quite a lot during the past few years. The water down in the canyon is barely visible. It won’t take long before it’s completely obscured. Vertically, the composition is even stronger. This is definitely a candidate for a print.
A telephoto reveals the vivid green moss on the rock wall.
I can’t find other compositions from here. There is a path going all the way down, maybe I can find something there. I follow it for about 1/3 and the rain starts pooring down again. I return to the car quickly. All in all I have been busy here for about one hour.
There is a path of about 8.5 miles, 12 kilometers that passes all the waterfalls. North Falls, on the other side of the park, can be reached by car and when I inspect the map somewhat better it appears to me that most of the waterfalls are closer to North Falls than to South Falls. So it’s much more logical to drive to North Falls and start exploring overthere. Reconnaissance of new terrain. Nice!
When I arrive it’s raining really hard, so again I wait for half an hour in the car.
When it’s finally dry again, I start walking down the trail, in search of the first waterfall.
I notice North Falls soon, but it’s impossible to photograph from here. It’s completely obscured by trees. I continue to the next: Winter Falls. Meanwhile it starts raining again. Stupid me, I should have put on my rain trousers.
Winter Falls is not photogenic. The rain intensifies even more. This is not fun, but it would take already half an hour to walk back so I better continue. The trail has a big figure 8 shape and around the crossroads it’s raining so hard that I have to look for shelter. I find a couple of large trees and underneath it’s significantly less wet.
After a while, a man approaches. I ask him how far the other waterfalls are from here. He shows a map and explains which waterfalls are pretty and which are not. Then it occurs to me that I should have taken the right trail as seen from the parking lot instead of the left one. North Falls is noted at the left trail but an arrow points to the right one. I can keep the map.
Waterfall without a Name
After a while, the rain becomes lighter and I continue down the trail. I encounter a couple of waterfalls that are not pretty and one that is interesting enough for a couple of photographs. Strangely, this one does not have a name.
Nice colors in the forest. So much water has come down during the last few hours and still this one offers not more than a trickle. I think, that is the very reason this waterfall doesn’t have a name.
Middle North Falls
I have covered all the waterfalls on this side and I start following the northern trail. The first one I encounter is Middle North Falls. To be able to see this one, you have to follow a narrow trail down through the forest and pass along the back side of the waterfall.
Walking a bit further even and zooming out provides an overview. I have to wait for a while here, because a group of people keep standing in full view. In the end they leave and I have the scene for myself again.
Leaning against the wall and operating the wideste lens I carry with me, the eroded roof comes into view as well.
I see a gnarly tree on the other side, that is completely covered by moss. Using the telelens I can isolate here perfectly.
I return to the main trail and continue. Soon, I encounter a beautifull one: North Falls. This one looks very much like South Falls on the other side of the park. A high narrow waterfall with a cut out bowl underneath, providing a trail to walk behind the waterfall..
That bowl has been eroded even deeper than at the other waterfalls. This one looks more like a cave and provides for completely different photos.
Hereafter I return to the car and don’t encounter any other waterfalls anymore. I drive back to South Falls, to try and shoot a couple of videos that I forgot to shoot the first time. Furthermore, there are two other waterfalls there, I haven’t seen sofar. But arriving there, the waterfall is covered completely in a big cloud of water vapor, so I can definitely forget about that.
Well, I have gathered quite a bunch of good photos in between the rain showers. I continue towards Portland and find a hotel as close as possible to the waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area for tomorrow morning.
Maps, Charts & Downloads
GPS Map with color coded altitude information
Color coded distance/altitude chart
Download the original gpx file here.