Opal Creek to Cedar Flats is a 9.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Elkhorn, Oregon that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September.

DISTANCE
9.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,056 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

backpacking
3 months ago

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.

backpacking
6 months ago

A great, easy “hike” which is mostly a walk along a gravel road until you get to Opal pool. From Opal pool to Cedar Flats though, the trail is legit terrifying in spots. Narrow single track, poorly maintained, with steep drop offs on the side. One area had just a large tree with small handholds notched in with a chainsaw... which would epically suck if you missed them. Another spot had s wobbly crank to cross a creek which would take you over the side.Still, it is stunningly beautiful, and the camp sites at the Flats are wonderful... flat and ride by Opal Creek. I’d attempt experience, nerves of steel and leave the kids and dogs at home.

hiking
6 months ago

So beautiful! The creek is stunning with several falls, pools, and the hike is varied with interesting things along the way, such as rusty train cars, Jawbone flats.
Don’t buy a Marion County Parks parking pass (I didn’t know so paid for one as soon as I turned onto N Fork Road)- you just need the NW Forest Pass or pay at the trailhead.
Footing is more technical and slower once you get on the Kopetski trail.
Allow about 4-5 hours round trip including breaks by the numerous pools.

6 months ago

Great diverse trail from Opal Creek trailhead to Cedar Flats. This trail is an out and back hike with a total closer to 13.5-not 9.3. Be prepared to climb over logs and hike both road and single track. Jaw Bone Flats is a quirky little must see, as well as, Opal Pool.
I wouldn’t recommend for first time hikers or children under 10, unless they are well versed in hiking.

hiking
11 months ago

This hike was beautiful, however the last 2 miles in on national Forest roads was rough. We took my hubbys GTI up there, in the winter time, and the pot holes were kinda crazy. (the road does get resurfaced in the spring which is good.) It was icy over many of the bridges we went over so watch for that and one of the foot bridges to opal pool had loose boards and was covered in ice with no hand rail so we ended up having to turn back. Despite the snow and ice it's a beautiful hike with crystal clear water, nice fresh air and an abundance of peace and quiet, even though it does get pretty busy, even in January we saw more than a dozen groups up at the falls. Huge reminder were hiking boots or shoes that are water resistant because there is a good bit of running water, puddles, mud and snow on most of the trails.

backpacking
11 months ago

Easy to just past Jawbone Flats. The trail was icy in spots (early December) and had a couple slightly sketchy creek crossings (stone hopping and 1 plank crossing above a waterfall). The solitude and views were fantastic in December.

1 month ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

nature trips
9 months ago

10 months ago

hiking
Wednesday, November 29, 2017