While nearby North Silver Creek drops over six waterfalls as it flows down its canyon, South Silver Creek harbors only two waterfalls - South Falls and Lower South Falls. While South Falls is unquestionably the most impressive waterfall in Silver Falls State Park, Lower South Falls is no slouch either. With a drop of 93 feet the falls are only the 5th tallest in the park, but still a waterfall of major significance.
Lower South Falls is one of four waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park featuring a trail which passes behind the falling water. Unlike the other three, the confines of the overhang behind the falls are quite cramped, and as such the trail has been constructed bordered with a very tasteful stone wall that blends into the landscape quite unobtrusively, which gives the falls a bit of a rustic feel more typically associated with areas like the Columbia River Gorge.
In a similar fashion to Middle North Falls, Lower South Falls is also created where its stream sheets out over a broad, uniform ledge of basalt which allows the falls to expand to a broad sheet of water for most of the year. But unlike Middle North Falls, which constricts to a very narrow plunge in the summer, Lower South Falls will still sheet out over a wider expanse when the creek is running low. This gives the falls a very delicate appearence during low flow periods and not only makes the falls very approachable without getting wet, but provides a very different experience from the other waterfalls which trails in the park pass behind.
- Lower South 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. Lower South Falls was obviously named in juxtaposition to South Falls.
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 15 1/2 miles to the South Falls area of the park. Alternatively, from I-5 in Salem drive east on Highway 22 to its junction with Highway 214, then follow Highway 214 for another 16 miles to the South Falls area. From the parking lots, follow any trail leading to South Falls and then proceed to the base of the falls (just under half of a mile), then head downstream along the Canyon Trail for another three-quarters of a mile to where the trail passes behind Lower South Falls. The hike from South Falls to Lower South Falls is very easy and goes by very quickly. Note that the stairs which lead down to the falls may be slick when wet.