Lower North Falls, Oregon Overview
Lower North Falls is one of six cascades along the North Silver Creek and one of ten waterfalls along the Trail of Ten Falls.
Photographing this waterfall is not going to be the reason anyone visits Silver Falls State Park, but it is certainly worthy of stopping for momentarily if you decide to hike the Trail of Ten Falls. This small cascade feels like a natural waterslide, gently gliding along a slick rock layer as it journeys downstream.
Much of the year, this waterfall will be little more than a thin layer of water atop the rock. Following heavy rainfall, however, it becomes a cute little falls to help spice up the hike.
Lower North Falls Quick Facts
- Location: Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
- GPS Coordinates: 44.89139, -122.64639
- Height: 30ft (9m)
- Avg Width: 55ft (17m)
- Max Width: 60ft (16m)
- Seasonality: Lower North Falls is a perennial waterfall, flowing year-round.
- Viewing Angles: Front-on only. Its a small waterfall so you can see the top and bottom, but you cannot get to the river and have to shoot from an elevated trail.
Location of Lower North Falls and How to Get There
Driving Directions to Lower North Falls
Silver Falls State Park is located on Highway 214 near Silverton, about 25 miles (40km) southeast of Salem and 55 miles (88km) south of Portland. There are four trailheads and parking lots for Silver Falls:
- South Falls Day Use Area
- North Falls Day Use and Group Camp
- North Falls Trailhead
- Winter Falls Trailhead
The South Falls Day Use Area has the most parking and facilities, including restrooms, water fountains, a cafe, and the lodge. Parking is limited at both the North Falls and Winter Falls trailheads. Unless you are camping at North Falls Group Camp, this option is less ideal as it includes a longer hike to the trail.
With the above in mind, and as it is unlikely you will solely be visiting Lower North Falls, you will likely want to navigate to the South Falls Day Use Area. Directions can be easily found by searching for South Falls in Google Maps! You can also find driving directions to Silver Falls from Portland here or from Eugene here.
Hiking Directions to Lower North Falls
Lower North Falls is located along the Trail of Ten Falls. Although Lower North Falls is perhaps the most underwhelming of the “North” falls, the hiking trail is spectacular. The Trail of Ten Falls has you weaving through the lush temperate rainforest where you’ll encounter 9 other impressive waterfalls. The hike includes the Canyon Trail and Rim Trail, and is a 7.8-mile loop that can be started from any of the four trailheads.
Lower North Falls Photography Tips
There is very little to do creatively at Lower North Falls as visibility is quite restricted. You can see the entirety of the falls from the Trail of Ten Falls, but you will not be able to get down to the water. In addition, many of the views will be at least partially obstructed by branches.
Our advice for photographing Lower North Falls is to be creative with your zooms more than anything else. Try coming in tight and making the foot bridge behind an added subject. Or, try shooting wide-angle if you have some fall colors or other interesting features to put the waterfall into better context within the scene.
If there is enough flow to the falls, consider using a long exposure to create the dreamlike, ethereal element in the water. If you are a beginner, make sure you view (and print) our comprehensive guide to long exposure waterfall photography. In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know!
Equipment for Photographing Lower North Falls
While it is possible to capture long exposure photographs of waterfalls on your iPhone using the Live Mode option, for the best possible images you may want to consider a few key pieces of photography gear:
- Camera: I use the Sony a7riii and have been in love with it ever since the first photo I took with it. However, for beginners you may wish to consider an entry level DSLR. This will allow you to start getting to grips with manual settings and decide whether photography is something you enjoy enough to invest in.
- Lens: The lens I use most frequently is the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS as the zoom lens allows for the most diversity. I also often use the Laowa 15mm F2 for shots that require a wider angle.
- Tripod: A tripod is essential if you want to create a long exposure waterfall image. When traveling, I use the Manfrotto Be Free as it’s lightweight and easy to carry on longer hikes. For times when I require something more stable, I use the Artcise Carbon Fiber Tripod.
- Filters: A Circular Polarizing (CPL) filter (CPL) or Neutral Density (ND) filter are very useful for allowing slower shutter speeds and for cutting glare on the water. The best CPL and ND filters I have found are the Quartzline from Polar Pro.
- Rain cover: Considering how much rain Silver Falls get, plus spray from the waterfalls, you may want to consider a rain cover for your camera. Another simpler, and great option, is a colorful umbrella… not only does it provide protection for you and your gear from the rain but can add a pop of color to photos!
- Microfiber cleaning cloths: You will want to bring several dry microfiber cloths to help clean your lens between shots. You will inevitably find plenty of spray getting onto the lens while photographing the waterfalls!
Other Waterfalls Nearby
If you have not already, you will definitely want to consult our comprehensive guide to The Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park to learn about the different options for hiking, camping, and planning your visit. As the name implies, there are 9 other waterfalls near Lower North Falls that are all worth visiting and exploring. These are listed below with hiking distances from Lower North Falls:
- Double Falls – 0.1 miles
- Drake Falls – 0.4 miles
- Middle North Falls – 0.4 miles
- Winter Falls 0.8 miles
- Twin Falls – 0.8 miles
- Lower South Falls – 1.2 miles
- South Falls – 2 miles
- North Falls – 1.7 miles
- Upper North Falls – 2.2 miles
We have a variety of guides to the Pacific Northwest that you may also find helpful, as well as instructional guides for learning photography.
Additionally, you are welcome to browse our Oregon professional photography gallery for prints and more inspiration ?
- Top 15 Oregon Waterfalls
- Waterfalls in Southern Oregon
- Best Places to Visit in Oregon
- Painted Hills of Oregon Guide (one of the 7 wonders of Oregon)
- Southern Oregon Coast Photography Locations
- Ultimate Guide to Visiting Thors Well
- Things to do on a Northern California Road Trip
- Photographing Olympic National Park
- Guide to Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Instructional Guides to Photography
- Long Exposure Waterfall Photography
- Photography Basics
- Night Photography
- Lightroom for Beginners
- Advanced Post-Processing
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