News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Silver Falls gets upgrades in North Canyon area

Silver Falls State Park has unveiled new trail links and visitors amenities at its North Canyon day-use area.

Using funds from state general obligation bonds aimed at improving parks and campgrounds, Silver Falls has added a new parking lot, restrooms, an information kiosk and permit pay station as well as a new trail that links the area with North Falls.

The new trail runs 0.5 miles to a splendid viewpoint of North Falls, then continues for another 0.5 miles to North Falls itself and connections to the Rim, Perimeter and Canyon trails. The Rim Trail shadows Highway 214 and ends at South Falls. The Canyon Trail takes visitors on the popular 10-waterfall loop, while the Perimeter heads steeply into the park’s little-used back country, often at altitudes above 2,000 feet. 

In addition, hikers can head down the ridge from the North Canyon via a short but challenging existing trail to Twin Falls and another connection of the Canyon Trail as well as access to the nearby cutoff to Winter Falls.

“We are all very excited to have the new area open to our visitors,” Chris Gilliand, park manager said.

The new North Canyon amenities include a parking lot, with a visitor center and campground planned for property across Highway 214. James Day
The new North Canyon amenities include a parking lot, with a visitor center and campground planned for property across Highway 214.                                                James Day

The bond money – ultimately $10 million to $12 million will be spent – also is funding more upgrades. These include a new visitor center and campground, which are planned for property across Highway 214 from the North Canyon area. Interior work for the visitor center is set for 2024, with campground construction set to begin in April, 2025. 

The goal is to spread the parking and starting points out across the park,” Gilliand said. “We still anticipate and hope visitors will see South Falls, but we see a need to have a greater developed starting point as you arrive at the park from the north side. 

“We will often reach capacity at the South Falls parking area on busy days, and visitors tend to start parking in unsafe locations when this happens, such as along the highway shoulder or blocking emergency vehicle access.”

The North Rim Trail, which opened July 17, is rated Americans With Disabilities Act accessible for its half-mile run to the viewpoint. The trail segment between the viewpoint and North Falls,however, is not ADA accessible.

In addition to the other upgrades the North Canyon’s nature play area also has reopened.

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