Waterfall Adventures + Tips for Hiking with Children

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Hiking with kids plus tips

 Last weekend we went to Silver Falls State Park in Sublimity, OR. This was our first time there in the two years we have lived in Oregon. We usually stick to the familiar since we go hiking with children and go where we know it is safe for the kids, which is Latourell Falls for us. We’ve been there at least 10 times, if not more. This summer our goal is to discover a new place every weekend, if possible! There is so much to explore in Oregon if you are visiting or moving here, I say make this a goal sooner than later.

The drive to Silver Falls State Park is about 1.5 hours from Portland. The drive is a nice scenic country drive. I love these types of drives, they are perfect for rolling down the windows and loud music! The address we entered into the GPS was 20024 Silver Falls Hwy SE, Sublimity, OR 97385, but we ended up stopping at the first parking lot we seen which was the upper falls parking lot. This parking lot has one bathroom (no flush), and it was pretty gross if possible, stop somewhere else beforehand. There were more parking lots, but I am happy we parked in this one. There are maps and warning signs near the bathroom. Maps of the trails and warning signs for bears and cougars and what to do if you encounter one, plus a date for the last sighting of each one. I say carry something with you, a stick, hiking sticks, etc…

We did not know where to start, but we just jumped right in. The trails were nice and clear, not too much overgrowth at all. Our first stop was the North Falls, Waterfall, this fall is a short walk from the parking lot, and is beautiful up close and personal. It’s also the perfect spot to take photos with a waterfall. From here we visited three more waterfalls and the hike was a total of about four miles. We saw the North Falls, Upper North Falls (my favorite by far), Twin Falls, and Winter Falls. The Upper North waterfall was my favorite because the trail goes behind the waterfall in what feels like a cave, it was so awesome!

Upper north silver falls state park

The trails are safe for hiking with children and in my opinion, is best for children ages four and up, and children who have experience in other hikes. The trails are not very stroller friendly due to rocks and tree roots. There are steep edges, so of course, keep your children close and always closer to the “wall.” The first three miles of the hike are very easy, the last mile could be a little challenging for children and the beginner hiker. My daughter (almost five) got tired on the last mile and a half, but we kept reminding her of the packed lunch box that she would get when we made it back to the car. I packed an apple, an orange, cheese-its and a chocolate milk for both kids. My son is 8 and he didn’t have a problem on the hike.

Overall, this hike was so worth the 1.5-hour drive. This hike was long overdue, we had never made the trip before because we were always focused on the drive. We will definitely be back to see the other SIX waterfalls (this state park has a total of ten waterfalls, and the full hike is 7.2-miles). Here are a few tips for hiking with children and pictures from our hike, enjoy!

Tips for hiking with children:

Apply sunscreen and bug spray.

Take extra clothes, just in case.

Make sure your child has comfortable shoes.

Have your child use the restroom before.

Have Hand Sanitizer Handy.

Pack your child their favorite water bottle.

Have a special lunch box packed for after the hike!

Let your child hold a map, and help “lead the way.”

Carry along a backpack, with water, clothes, and a towel.

Make the rules clear to your child before the hike.


Our rules:

  • No running ahead.
  • Stay close to an adult.
  • Be careful with touching plants on hikes.
  • No petting dogs, unless you ask the dog’s owner first.
  • Enjoy the beautiful scenery!

north falls silver falls state park

Winter falls silver falls state park


If you enjoy learning new tips, please check out these posts!

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A Simple Trick to Get Your Preschool-Aged Child to Want to Sleep in Their Own Bed

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