Lower South Falls

Silver Falls State Park / Salem, Oregon, USA

About Lower South Falls

Hiking Distance: 2.4 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 60-90 minutes

Date first visited: 2009-03-31
Date last visited: 2009-03-31

Waterfall Latitude: 44.8858
Waterfall Longitude: -122.66205

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Lower South Falls surprised us as it was every bit as attractive as its more famous upper counterpart.

Like the more well-known South Falls, the Lower South Falls featured a classically rectangular shape as it dropped 93ft.

Silver_Falls_118_03312009 - Lower South Falls in Silver Falls State Park
Lower South Falls in Silver Falls State Park

I found its wide rectangular shape was quite reminiscent of Rainbow Falls in the Devil’s Postpile National Monument in the Eastern Sierras of our home state of California.

However, the Silver Falls State Park version also allowed us to walk behind the waterfall, which made for a rather unique experience for a waterfall with this kind of width and volume.

Come to think of it, almost half of Silver Falls State Park’s 10 main waterfalls had let us go behind them.

I guess that was kind of like the park’s M.O. (modus operandi), or at least the thing that made the waterfalls in this park stand out as more than just a collection of waterfalls in a particular reserve in the state of Oregon.

Experiencing Lower South Falls

Silver_Falls_108_03312009 - Julie descending the switchbacking steps to get a cleaner look (and to go behind) the Lower South Falls
Julie descending the switchbacking steps to get a cleaner look (and to go behind) the Lower South Falls

In any case, we reached the Lower South Falls by hiking an additional 0.8 miles downstream from South Falls or about 1.2 miles from the South Falls parking lot.

From there, we could have continued along the Trail of Ten Falls for another 1.3 miles to Lower North Falls.

However, we opted instead to backtrack to the car park and drive to the other car parks to see the other falls on the trail without needing to walk to far (as well as backtrack).

In doing so, we probably saved about a mile or two of hiking in the process as far as the Lower South Falls was concerned.

Silver_Falls_139_03312009 - Looking back at the trail going behind the Lower South Falls
Looking back at the trail going behind the Lower South Falls

So we’ll let you decide whether to do the eco-friendly option or not.


Lower South Falls resides in Silver Falls State Park near Salem in Marion County, Oregon. It is administered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Silver_Falls_088_03312009 - In order to reach the Lower South Falls, we first had to hike past the South Falls
Silver_Falls_104_03312009 - Looking back at the South Falls as we took the trail going further downstream towards the Lower South Falls
Silver_Falls_109_03312009 - Julie descending closer to the Lower South Falls
Silver_Falls_113_03312009 - Contextual view of Lower South Falls in the rain as it started coming down again during our late March 2009 visit
Silver_Falls_115_03312009 - Julie getting closer to Lower South Falls
Silver_Falls_122_03312009 - Julie checking out the Lower South Falls from a spot near a sign
Lower_South_Falls_002_jx_03312009 - Sign fronting Lower South Falls stating its height
Silver_Falls_126_03312009 - Direct look at the impressive Lower South Falls as the trail meanders closer to its backside
Silver_Falls_133_03312009 - The red dot on the right side of the photo is Julie approaching the back of Lower South Falls, which provided a sense of the scale of the waterfall
Silver_Falls_136_03312009 - The trail going behind Lower South Falls
Silver_Falls_143_03312009 - Looking back at the far side of Lower South Falls after having gone behind it

We started the hike to get to this falls from the same car park as for South Falls.

See that page for the driving directions.

For further geographical context, Portland was 42 miles (an hour drive) north of Silverton and 47 miles (also an hour drive) north of Salem.

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Sweep from bottom to top from switchbacks

Sweep from the bottom to top from the opposite side of the alcove behind the falls

Looking from left to right from directly behind the waterfall

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Tagged with: silver falls, state park, salem, marion, oregon, waterfall, pacific northwest, silverton, behind

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Lower South Falls February 28, 2023 7:51 pm by Philipp Merillat - Lower South Falls at Silver Falls State Park is one of ten falls on the hiking trail loop. This is one of those, among others on the loop, where the trail proceeds rear of the falls and passes behind them presenting a veil of water before you. That is, in case you're asking, is there… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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