Trails, foliage and waterfalls
Hit the trails this fall and explore the Salem, Oregon, area’s natural beauty. With flowing waterfalls, diverse wildlife and stunning autumn color, these hikes are sure to stop you in your tracks. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, here are five hikes to enjoy this fall:
Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge
Although most of the refuge closes to the public in October, the Rich Guadagno Memorial Trail is open year-round. Situated in the middle of the refuge, the one-mile trail winds through a mixed coniferous forest. The moderate climb takes you to the top of Baskett Butte and offers panoramic views of the Willamette Valley.
Location: 10995 Oregon 22, Dallas, OR 97338
Butte Creek Falls
Located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Butte Creek Falls is a must-see for fall foliage lovers. This one-mile trail weaves through Douglas-fir and hemlock trees.
Two stunning waterfalls are also visible from the trail. Upper Butte Creek Falls is a 20-foot waterfall that falls into a deep, cold pool. The 80-foot Lower Butte Creek Falls can be viewed at the end of the trail from a rocky promontory.
Location: Butte Creek Falls is located 13 miles outside the town of Scotts Mills, Oregon
Little North Santiam Trail
This four-and-a-half-mile trail takes you along the picturesque Little North Santiam River. As you navigate through the Douglas-firs, you’ll pass several waterfalls, emerald pools and a gorge with towering rock walls. The moderate hike will also take you across seven rustic log footbridges.
Location: Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area
Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls State Park is known as the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Park system. It is Oregon’s largest state park and is home to the Trail of Ten Falls.
More than seven miles long, the trail takes you above, around and behind 10 breathtaking waterfalls. The hike includes 800 feet of elevation gain on paved and unpaved trails.
Location: 20024 Silver Falls Hwy SE, Sublimity, OR 97385
Willamette Mission State Park
From rugged multi-use trails to sure-footed paved trails, this historical park boasts 16 miles of hiking paths. View wildlife as you hike through forests, farmlands, meadows and wetlands.
The park is home to the nation’s largest Black Cottonwood; it is more than 250 years old. It also features two oxbow lakes.
Location: Willamette Mission State Park, Gervais, OR 97026
Photo: Hiker at Silver Falls State Park ~ Sublimity, Oregon ~ Photo by Zak Stone