Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Opal Creek Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

walking
2 days ago

Take the left side when you see the fork in the trail (it looks obviously more used). Saw no one the entire time. Very pretty, quick walk up to the falls through dappled light and fern groves. Nice pool at the base of falls for hot days. A creepy cave that I didn't go down thanks to lack of flashlight, but seemed to be barricaded at the end. Foundational bits of concrete are sticking out in the trail right before the falls, so arthritic knees and hips may not appreciate the little scramble up. Road is unpaved in two separate parts (before you get to Elkhorn and again once inside Opal Creek Scenic Area), but our Kia Soul was able to make it over the minimal potholes with ease.

Moderate to Hard is fair. Total trip was 9.8 miles. Great views at the top but only a few lookout opportunities on the way up. Trail was not marked but its about a .3 miles down the road on the right side. For the first trail split (<1 mile) take the left trail (the up trail). About 4.5 miles (total) you will come to the dome rock trail that is marked

Did a backpacking assessment test this Saturday. Was a great hike to the top. Got an early start and no one else on the way up. still a few clouds on top, was clearing up. Had to head back down, and met (5) other hikers headed up. Did pretty good with a pack on for the conditioning assessment...was a blast and glad to see my vehicle when I got back down. A real nice workout for an old goat.

The trail was easy to follow, there’s lots of spots you can drop off from the main trail that will take you to the water. I got there just before 10 am and parking was starting to filling up quickly. If you’re planning to swim make sure you take snacks, because that cold water will really leave you hungry.

Beautiful, easy walk. Great spots to stop for picnic or swim.

Rusted miner machinery in the woods, opal pool and the river

Great hike! 7.4 miles round trip. Many viewpoints along the way. This trail is not recommended for small children or small pets...it is way too steep for them in my opinion. Views at the summit were subdued due to smoke from British Columbia. You could still make our Mt. Jefferson in the distance. Recommend for those not faint of heart or with those healthy enough for a 3.7 mile UPHILL walk.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful! Steep, but so worth the burning in your legs!

Great trail and perfect 360 degree view of cascade. It’s about 10 miles though not 8.

Steady uphill hike with a beautiful view from the top.

the water was amazing, best to go when the day is hot and best to get there early. also bring $5 cash to pay for the parking permit, they don't take card.

Beautiful area, however, extremely crowded with people staying at opal creek ancient forest center (a really neat sustainable retreat area with cabins and activities for large groups) then lots of day hikers and river rats. All of which I’m totally fine with had I known what I was going to expect once I arrived. I came to backpack, not car camp and that’s what this place screams!!

We arrived at about 10am on a Tuesday in the middle of August. The parking lot had roughly 50-60 cars already and a shuttle van was making trips down the first part of the trail (roughly 3.5-4miles) to the cabins at opal creek ancient forest center. In previous reviews it was mentioned that the first few miles of the “trail” WAS a gravel road, but everyone failed to mention that it was STILL in use! I don’t want to share a trail with any vehicle unless I’m at a festival, and even that sucks. So after the giant shuttle van passed us we proceeded down (about 2.5-3 miles) to where the Kopetski Trail crossed the river and we hit are first single track of the day. Yay!

The single track is a little tight but it’s very manageable, yes the footing can be a little tricky but if you have on good sturdy shoes and watch where you’re going you’ll be fine. After crossing back over the bridge down by opal pool we were pretty burned out on all the crowds screaming and shrieking and were relieved to be heading past the “resort” like atmosphere.

Past the main crowds it’s about another 2 - 2.5 miles to cedar flats. Be forewarned only two pools deep enough to swim in that we could see and the last one is a good half mile from the two camp sites at the end of the trail. There are about four camp sites altogether from the crowded cabin area all the way along to the end out in Cedar Flats. Also there is a bees nest at the second to the last camp site. Almost everyone got stung once but the poor dog got it the worst.

So here’s the deal, had I known more of what to expect, I wouldn’t have gone for a backpacking trip here. I like solitude, over crowds, whilst packing. I would have gone for the river fun and maybe a quick day hike to checkout jawbone flats, the mining stuff, and the cool thing that the people out at opal creek ancient forest center got going on.

Pros: gorgeous, old growth viewing, old mining equipment, and mind shafts, quiet if your all the way out in cedar flats, easy hike with hardly any elevation gain, absolutely stunningly clear water!

Cons: tons of people, specific vehicles are prohibited to use the road/trail until opal creek learning center (not much traffic and they do drive slow but still a con) all the swimming holes are ran sacked with dozens of high energy kids and families making it tough to find time to relax at the river. It screams car camping vibe.

Totally fine but had I known for backpacking I just wouldn’t have done it. My fault should have researched more. This is really the purpose of this post. To help another backpacker gather info on this place so they can make a better choice.

steep but great views at the top. well marked trail.

It’s a great hike for first timers and great for kids. The cave was cool and the waterfall was pretty.

The entire thing is a gravel road up to Jawbone Flats. The only trail portion is when you cross a bridge from Jawbone Flats and loop back or if you take the turnoff to Opal Pool you cross a bridge to a trail. When you’re on the actual trail it’s quite lovely. The trees are spectacular in this ancient forest, and the water and carved out rocks lovely. I’m sure Jawbone Flats is more interesting to children going to the education center than it was to me. In the summertime it’s more of a swimming hole than it is a place for serenity.

Great hike with no mosquitoes in August. Over 10 mi rt. All Trails map helpful as trail splits a couple of times. Just keep climbing to 360 degree views of Cascades and West Cascades. You take Tumble Ridge Trail up to Dome Rock Trail. Worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike!! Easy trail for beginners, with the option of a crazy steep trail for the more adventurous. Definitely will be going back here.

I agree with the other reviews. Once you get off the gravel road the trail is beautiful! Twisting roots, trees and cliffs alongside the river make it exciting. Unfortunately you walk 2.5 + miles on icky gravel to get there. For that reason I wouldn't do it again. Worth going once for the jawbone flats experience!

Great late afternoon hike. Easy but beautiful. And the fall at the end of the trail was worth every minute it took to get there. LOVE the area.

Great views and great conditioning hike if you add in Tumble Lake makes it 12.5 miles

When I have to hike on a gravel road for miles, I do not give 5 stars. I think this is a fun hike for kids as you see mine shafts and the remanence of equipment and old vehicles. The opal creek portion is gorgeous and a nice hike through the trees. There are many many hikes in Oregon I repeat and take people. This will not be one of them.

hiking
2 months ago

Well maintained trail. Steady uphill climb. Nice view of Detroit Lake. Be prepared for mosquitos. They are aggressive.

So much to look at.

The trail is mainly on gravel. There is a fork in the trail with a mile marker sign posting information about (left) Jawbone Flats/Education Center and (right) Opal Pool. I went both ways and I highly recommend the trail on the right since it's much more beautiful and the trail is on red dirt. The miles of the entire trail is inaccurate because it depends on where you're going (Opal Creek swimming holes, Jawbone Flats, Old Mining area, Opal Pool). My friend, my dog and I hiked all over and ended this hike packing ten miles in our legs. Wear durable, waterproof hiking shoes. Your feet will thank you.

Good climb first two miles, first half pretty over grown in areas once you hit the runoff. Trail is ridden with mosquitoes til the second half. Nice rock ledge for a quarter of a mile and a few logs to hurdle over along the way. No water past the 2.75 miles til you get to twin lakes. Didn't see alot of lake access but 4 to 5 camp spots. Good hike but the road in to Elk lake is slow going and 4 wheel drive would make it easier but we did pass a mercedes, proceed at your own risk. ;)

Easily one of the most beautiful areas in Oregon but (there’s always a but) the crowds have gotten astronomically larger over the years. If you can go on a weekday then you’ll find respite from the lake parties. Just know that you’ll likely still spend a significant portion of the day finding and picking up other people’s trash.

backpacking
2 months ago

The road up is tough, and pretty rocky. You end up having to Park where the split to Elk Lake is, as the road farther on is washed out. The trail could use some love but wasn't too bad. Enjoyed our stay at the lake. Upper twin is really nice this time of year. Just warm enough for a nice dip in the lake. Campsites are very well maintained, but please pick up your trash as we had to pick up quite a bit on our way out. The the trail to the lower twin seems to not be there anymore or is it very overgrown.

Loved the hike only reason not a 5 is because it’s so crowded! Did I last weekend of June 2018.

Not so kid-friendly at the end! The washouts weren't too bad, but the climb over the concrete structure was tricky- I kept my toddler in the carrier, suspended Superman-style over the cliff! Super easy until that point.

on Henline Falls Trail

2 months ago

Amazing and easy trail!

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