|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – September 2009
Pack up your brood for a day in the outdoors with these kid-friendly trails.
SILVER FALLS, SP, OR
Visit 10 waterfalls in one day.
This 7.5-mile loop drops into an old-growth forest that shades Silver Creek Canyon in Oregon's Willamette Valley. The route tags 10 waterfalls from 27 to 178 feet high. You'll never hike more than a mile without seeing a cascade–they're interspersed along the south and north forks of Silver Creek–ideal for kids as young as 6 (read: easily bored). Bailout routes at South Falls, Lower South Falls, and just past Middle North Falls, at the halfway point, create shorter loops in case of any midhike meltdowns. Kids enjoy following the trail into deep hollows behind four of the falls, where you'll get close enough for a light misting. It's a popular destination, so go midweek and start from the day-use areas near North Falls or Winter Falls instead of the more developed South Falls. oregonstateparks.org
After a dip in the park's swimming area, head to Mac's Place for burgers. They have a Kids Eat Free special on Tuesdays (three little ones max). (503) 873-2441
Drive 30 miles south of Portland on I-5 to exit 271 at Woodburn; follow OR 214 for 30 miles, through Silverton, to Silver Falls State Park.