Opal Creek to Jawbone Flats Loop

MODERATE 43 reviews
#3 of 9 trails in

Opal Creek to Jawbone Flats Loop is a 6.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Elkhorn, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and nature trips and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
613 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

hiking

nature trips

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

rocky

historic site

hiking
12 minutes ago

This trail is magic. It starts off on a wide road, and eventually loops into some fairly legit forest hiking. It’s a very wet trail, and you straight up walk through what would ordinarily be considered a creek, but it’s just the rainwater flowing down the path. The river was raging today because of the rain we’ve had, and the water is just gloriously clear and pure looking. Jawbone Flats is the type of place I’d love to visit again, and all the old rust bucket trucks and equipment make my old fashioned heart go pitter patter. My recording said I did 928 feet of elevation, but I truly didn’t feel it, and would say this was very a very gradual incline. I also ended up clocking 7.5 miles instead of 6.5, but I’ve grown use to these hikes always being a little longer than AllTrails says. So here’s the deal- this hike is worth all the tea in China, but for the love of humanity, get some waterproof shoes so you don’t hate your life if you’re doing this hike in the winter. 10/10 will hike again.

hiking
8 days ago

One of the best hikes in the state! just make sure you go in the winter if you don't like crowds!

backpacking
8 days ago

Such a beautiful hike! We did this hike in June 2018 and it was absolutely breathtaking. We hadn’t backpacked for almost a year, so we wanted to do something a little leisurely. We made it a 3 day/2 night trip. The water beautiful and the old growth trees were amazing to see. The signage is great from the beginning to opal creek over to jawbone flats. We tried hiking beyond that and the signage wasn’t the best as we continued.

hiking
13 days ago

Great area to explore. Definitely need to come back up soon. Great day to be out when I was there in early December. Forgot to post when I got home.

hiking
1 month ago

Came here on 12/7/18 roads were icy on the route alltrails takes you on Google maps. Dirt road coming in seemed a lot worse (pit hole riddled) than leaving. There are two vaulted toilet stalls here and they were clean. You can rent cabins at jawbone flats. If you want to do the loop I would make a right at the trailhead for the pools when you first come across the bridge it will be easier to follow if you don't have a preloaded map. This place is a must see the road is easy and opal pools trail is moderate to hard. This trail is 9.9 miles and we finished it in 5.5hrs. In jawbone flats the bathroom is closed for the winter. You can rent cabins in jawbone flats and if you are handicap, you can drive in if you are renting a cabin. Cabin prices are fairly expensive over $100. Jawbone flats is privately owned and surrounded by national forrest. You need a northwest forrest pass to park here or an American the beautiful or day pass. I believe $5/visit/day. We were the first ones on the trail and when we left there were 3 or 4 other cars in the lot on a Friday. There is ice on the trail this time of year in the early mornings so use caution. No drinkable water here if you are doing a day trip here, so make sure you bring plenty of water or have a filtration system. There are people that live here all year long (we saw 3 people that worked in jawbone flats). We saw 3 people and 3 dogs while we were heading back to the car (2 dogs were not on leashes). The small trail on the opal pool side I'd call moderate to hard with some steep climbs and drop offs, it is a single track trail. Lots of place to camp on this side.

hiking
2 months ago

Great place, lots of variety in the trails as well as the scenery. Hiked along the gravel road going in to Jawbone Flats, (lots of old abandoned mining equipment all along the trail) then continued to Opal Pool and came back along the trail through the forest which connects back to the gravel road.
Since I am new to hiking this last part is for those that are also just getting started, or consider this a long hike. The gravel road is relatively flat, but the section through the woods had some short but steep climbs over rocky terrain. The path is pretty narrow and has some long drop offs in several areas. Don't let that scare you off though, I'm on the older end of the scale and new to hiking and found it all very manageable.
Believe my mileage would have been closer to the 6.5 than what was experienced by Stacy if I had taken the gravel road in and back out and stopped at Jawbone Flats. Adding Opal Pool and taking the route though the forest definitely increased my mileage.
All Trails recorded me at 8.4 miles total.
Most likely due to the weather conditions at the moment, the road leading in wasn't bad at all, even a sedan should be able to make it all the way to the trailhead.

hiking
2 months ago

Decided to venture out to this trail on 10/20. We hiked along the gravel road to Jawbone Flats, then over to Opal Pool, and we crossed the bridge taking the trail through the forest as our return route. The 6.5 mileage is VERY off from what you actually do. It’s 4 miles alone to Jawbone Flats and the loop through the forest adds quite a bit due to the twists and turns. My stepmother and several other groups behind us clocked it at over 9.5 miles, so come prepared.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike, definitely venture off the main path so you can get great views of the water. Gravel bits are annoying but the trail part was worth it at least one time through.

hiking
4 months ago

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.

4 months ago

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

4 months ago

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

rock climbing
5 months ago

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.

hiking
5 months ago

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.

5 months ago

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!

6 months ago

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
6 months ago

So much to look at.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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

7 months ago

Such a beautiful and relaxing hike!

7 months ago

Beautiful hike! We arrived early and ran into two people until we were on our way back, haha. Gentle inclines and stunning views. This trail just made me happy. Be forewarned that there has been cougar sightings recently, so ensure you are safely prepared.

7 months ago

Awesome trail

7 months ago

Stunning views. Crowded as a result! ;) worth it at least once! We logged 9.5 miles on my step counter app total.

The walk up the gravel road to get to jawbone flats had uneven sharp gravel thoughout glad I did not bring my small tender footed pup!

hiking
7 months ago

Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend... we arrived by 8am and had a great hike. Went via the road to Jawbone Flats then returned via the loop by Opal Pool (which is a more difficult and smaller trail, but lovely views). By the time we got back to the roadway on the return, it was a super-highway of people! We counted 132 cars when we left. It took us about 4 hours, leisurely pace, 6.5 miles.

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

The water was so beautiful. The hike was pretty easy, even with three kids. The crowds of people were definitely a turn off, though. I’d go again, but very early in the morning.

hiking
9 months ago

Absolutely stunning hike. Although the 6.6 miles is not entirely accurate , from the start of the trailhead to the finish it's over 8. But the hike is stunning all the way to the falls which are indescribable. The drive that's unpaved though is TERRIBLE ( full of potholes) so be prepared with a good vehicle!

hiking
10 months ago

The water and waterfalls are beautiful!

hiking
11 months ago

Did this trail last summer. Great for beginners, since it's fairly flat. Definitely a popular trail though, lots of people, kids, dogs, groups playing music, ect.
The old mine town is very cool and the waterfalls and pools are so beautiful, that it was well worth the crowds.

hiking
Monday, January 08, 2018

Beautiful trail in west central Oregon. There are waterfalls along the hike, plus an old mine and mining town toward the end of the loop. Highly recommend.

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