Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
460.00 ft (140.21 m)
Trail type
3.10 mi (4.99 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Silver Falls State Park is well known for its many waterfalls, but there is much more to explore here. Only a sliver of the park is home to the waterfalls, the rest consists of beautiful dense forest, rugged terrain and peaceful creeks and streams. Miles and miles of backcountry trail can be found in the southern part of the park, including trails perfect for mountain biking and horseback riding. One short and easy trail is the Howard Creek Loop. At only 3.1 miles long, this loop is perfect for families and those looking to get away from the waterfall crowds without enduring too strenuous of a hike.

Begin by parking at the Howard Creek Lot. The trail then begins by walking past the horse camp area. Next the trail meanders through a section of beautiful old growth forest. You’ll soon come to a junction with the Buck Mountain Loop Trail, take a right and continue along the Howard Creek Loop. Later you’ll cross Howard Creek before climbing gently and leaving the impressive old growth forest behind. The trail then continues along with views of the Smith Creek wetland area to the right.

Soon you’ll reach the Silver Falls Lodge and Conference Center. There are also several small cabins here and a large open area with picnic tables. Taking a break here (it’s also the halfway point) is a great choice! The trail then follows a paved pathway past the conference center parking area until turning back to natural singletrack. The trail then parallels a road as it leads beside Smith Creek and ultimately back to the Howard Creek Parking Lot.

Logistics + Planning



Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Open Year-round



Beautiful forest. Less crowded.


No waterfalls.

Trailhead Elevation

1,358.00 ft (413.92 m)

Highest point

1,459.00 ft (444.70 m)


Near lake or river
Family friendly
Big Game Watching
Horseback riding
Bird watching
Old-growth forest
Vault toilet
Potable water

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Silver Falls State Park, South Carolina
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon


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