2024 Guide: Upper North Falls, OR (Silver Falls State Park)

Hiker stands at the base of Upper North Falls, Oregon in Silver Falls State Park.
Sophie stands at the base of beautiful Upper North Falls, Oregon.

About Upper North Falls, Oregon: An Overview

Despite being only a 0.3-mile hike, Upper North Falls is the most overlooked waterfall in Silver Falls State Park.

While it is a part of the Trail of Ten Falls Loop, Upper North Falls is located off a spur trail from the North Falls parking area and is therefore often missed by visitors. It is the first of six waterfalls along North Silver Creek within Silver Falls State Park.

The fact that many miss this incredible cascade is good news for those who know about it! Although access is fairly limited in terms of viewing angles, Upper North Falls is a stunning display of nature’s artistry and one of the more photogenic falls in the park.

It is also one of the few waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park that you can stand at the base of.

Tumbling 65 feet in a broad curtain, the waterfall can be almost as wide as it is tall during the rainy season.

Not only is the waterfall itself a true gem, but the walk there is a treat too. Along the path, the moss-covered walls have seasonal small waterfalls cascading down them, adding a little extra magic to the walk.

It is also one of the few waterfalls you can walk to with your four-legged friends as dogs are permitted on this trail.

Upper North Falls Quick Facts

  • Location: Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
  • GPS Coordinates: 44.88313, -122.61415
  • Upper North Falls Height: 65 feet (20 meters)
  • Upper North Falls Hike: Easy 0.3-mile walk
  • Avg Width: 30 feet (9 meters)
  • Max Width: 60 feet (18 meters)
  • Seasonality: Upper North Falls is a perennial waterfall, flowing year-round.
  • Viewing Angles: Front-on, base only. No access to top or sides.

Location of Upper North Falls and How to Get There

Driving Directions to Upper 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
Google Map image showing the location of Upper North Falls (Oregon) trailhead in Silver Falls State Park

The closest parking lot to Upper North Falls is the North Falls Trailhead. The parking lot has more limited spaces than the larger South Falls Days Use Area, but is only a 0.3-mile hike to Upper North Falls.

While the South Falls Day Use Area has the most parking and facilities, including restrooms, water fountains, a cafe, and the lodge, it is also the furthest from Upper North Falls.

Additionally, both Winter Falls Trailhead and North Falls Day Use Area are over a mile hike from Upper North Falls.

With the above in mind, you will likely want to navigate to the North Falls Trailhead. However, if you are planning to complete the entire Trail of Ten Falls Loop, this can be started from any of the parking lots.

Directions can be easily found by searching for North Falls Parking in Google Maps! You can also find driving directions to Silver Falls from Portland here or from Eugene here.

Hiking Directions to Upper North Falls

The hike to Upper North Falls is only 0.3 miles from the North Falls Trailhead.

From the parking lot, cross the footbridge and keep right at the junction. The trail will take you under the footbridge and alongside the river walking upstream until you reach Upper North Falls.

It is an easy, mostly flat walk that is well signposted.

Upper North Falls Photography Tips

Long exposure photo of Upper North Falls.
Long exposure photo of Upper North Falls.

You will discover that viewing angles are very limited for photographing Upper North Falls. The trail dead-ends into the water and, unless you are able to get wet, limit you to one front-on vantage point.

The first thing we recommend is adding a human element, preferably wearing something colorful, to add scale and a pop of color to the scene. The person can go in the water if the weather is warm enough, or on the log as seen above.

If you don’t mind putting your feet in the water, you will have access to some unique compositions. Otherwise, the best thing to do is to get your tripod set in the water from as far back as you can get, minimizing the spray coming from the falls.

You will need to bring lots of microfiber cloths to keep the lens dry at this one, so be prepared! To get a shot without water droplets all over the lens, try setting your camera up on a tripod and using a 2-second timer.

Because you can get above the water, a long exposure works fantastic. This creates a soft, dreamlike feeling in the photograph! If you are wondering how that works, be sure to check out our long-exposure waterfall photography to learn everything you need to know!

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 Middle North Falls that are all worth visiting and exploring. These include:

More Oregon Nature Guides

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Written by
Adam Marland is a professional travel blogger and landscape photographer from Oregon. After over a decade of experience as a freelance travel photographer, Adam found national acclaim when he became the National Park Foundation's “Chief Exploration Officer” in 2021.

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