Golden and Silver Falls (Oregon Coast) 10-May-2019

The Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area has to be among the smallest and most obscure properties in the state park system. But the two waterfalls it was created to protect were reported as magnificent, so we had to see them for ourselves. We were not disappointed. This area is 24 miles back in the hills east of Coos Bay and we stopped off there on our way to Reedsport. There are three trails here: one each to the base of each falls and one that visits both falls. We started with the trail above Silver Creek to the base of Silver Falls, which free-falls for 223 feet, then cascades another 36 feet down into the creek’s narrow canyon.

Silver Falls comes into view from the lower trail
Silver Falls
Silver Falls
The cascade at the base of the falls

After seeing Silver Falls from below, we returned to the parking area, crossed Glenn Creek on some artfully placed myrtle tree rounds (the footbridge was washed away last winter and is awaiting replacement), and did the short hike to the base of 254-foot Golden Falls.

Mushrooms on a myrtle round in Glenn Creek
Along the lower Golden Falls trail
Golden Falls from below

From the base of Golden, we backtracked and followed another trail up above Silver Creek to the east side of Silver Falls and then around a point above Glenn Creek to the head of Golden Falls. Part of this trail (and the lower trail to Silver Falls) were a section of a road that homesteaders blasted out of the cliffs in 1901. The sheer drop where it passes the cliffs above Glenn Creek is over 200 feet! This wildly precarious route between Allegany and Scottsburg was maintained by the county until 1958.

On the old road above Silver Creek
Silver Falls from the east
Along the old road toward Glenn Creek
Barely 15 feet wide along a 200 foot cliff with no guard rails!
Upper Golden Falls
Looking down to the base of the falls
This puts a dent in the “Follow the creek downstream to civilization” trope
Going back along the frighteningly narrow old road
The three trails to Golden and Silver Falls

We were lucky to visit the falls after a fairly wet winter, so they were still running well in nice, sunny weather. If you want to see them at full force, plan a visit for winter or early spring (Silver Falls all but disappears in summer). Just dress warmly and wear your rain gear! 😎

Another sunset on the Oregon Coast

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