From a statistical standpoint, North Falls is only the third tallest waterfall within Silver Falls State Park. It is also the only waterfall you can see in the park without getting out of your car, but neither of these are the reason you should visit. What North Falls holds over every other waterfall in Silver Falls State Park is drama. North Silver Creek is channeled through a narrow crack in the basaltic bedrock, from which it thunders 136 feet to the bottom of the canyon, with a second smaller segment forming when the creek is running high in the winter and spring.
Trails pass behind four of Silver Falls State Park's waterfalls, but the massive recess behind North Falls is especially unique and a favorite feature of visitors to the park. The undercut cliff extends back from the falls for at least 100 feet, and the ceiling runs anywhere from 20 to perhaps as much as 75 feet above the trail as it passes behind the falls. The huge size of the under cut chamber allows the roar of the falls to be amplified considerably, making the falls sound quite a bit more powerful than they actually may be. That the trail is so far away from the falling water actually allows North Falls to be one of the few waterfalls which can be observed up close at flood stage without having to worry much about getting soaked by the spray of the falls.
- North Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
The waterfalls of Silver Falls State Park were discovered and named by local photographer June Drake in the late 1880's. North Falls was so named because it is the primary waterfall along North Silver Creek.
Silver Falls State Park straddles Highway 214 east of Salem and can be reached from either the north or south. From Salem, exit Interstate 5 onto Highway 213 eastbound and proceed 10 miles to Silverton. In Silverton turn right (south) onto Highway 214, following signs pointing to Silver Falls State Park, and drive another 14 miles to the North Falls parking lot and trailhead. Alternatively, from I-5 in Salem drive east on Highway 22 to its junction with Highway 214, then follow Highway 214 for just under 18 miles to the North Falls parking area. From the parking lot, cross the footbridge and bear left at the junction where signs point to North Falls and the Canyon Trail. The trail passes a cliff-top view looking down on the falls shortly, and after descending a flight of stone stairs passes behind the falls about one-fifth of a mile from the parking lot. A long-distance roadside view of North Falls can be had from a signed viewpoint about a mile west of the North Falls trailhead parking area.