Opal Creek Trail

EASY 392 reviews
#2 of 122 trails in

Opal Creek Trail is a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Elkhorn, Oregon that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
836 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Beginning at the Opal Creek Trailhead, this hike is on a gravel road through an old-growth forest of cedar trees. This trail takes you over a high bridge to the opal pool and you can loop around and go back through Jawbone Flats which is a fun little historic town to see. It is a great walk along an old road and an opportunity to explore an old mining operation abandoned over a century ago in this ancient forest. There are several little trail junctions that veer off the main trail that lead to swimming holes. Along the way you can also see Slide Falls and Sawmill Falls. This is a popular trail so do not expect to have place to yourself. Camping and parking are regulated due to the popularity of the site.

hiking
4 days ago

Great trail! I took my dog with me and she loved it! The best part was the part leading up to the creek. Its so beautiful out there! I will definitely be returning.

hiking
12 days ago

this was such a fun trail dispite the fact that the opal pools were not quite as impressive as I was lead to believe. still very pretty. nice easy trail. the kids gave up about mile 4 though so unless you got some energetic kids with some hiking enthusiasm I wouldn't recommend it. jawbone flats is pretty cool I had no idea that was there. the path is mostly gravel road except for 1.3 miles that is good trail type trail. lots and lots of huckleberries this time of year.

23 days ago

Beautiful opal waters

hiking
26 days ago

Awesome hike ! Wish somebody would have said it was 6 miles of driving on gravel road because we popped a tire on the way down ... oof ... but other than that it was a really cool hike ! The natural water slide at the end was so cool. Maybe if they could put up more signs pointing to where to go to that would be helpful because we got a little confused.

So did this hike with co-workers. The app says it's an easy hike. it is not! More like moderate is how I would describe it. Over a gravel road and up and down spots. But that being said it is beautiful!!! All the little trails you can go off to see the waterfalls and the most beautiful pools of water ever!! Jawbone Flats is so cool!!! Here's the moderate part of the hike.... the 1.3 mls from Jawbone is a very narrow rocky and better watch out for the tree roots trail. But I am telling you the end results is totally worth it!! I would do it again!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Was great for swimming and hiking, I did it with 3 kids 14, 8, 6, water was beautiful and clear. Got there early and the parking lot was half full after we got back it was jam packed. Overall it was a really great hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! GO EARLY if you want peace, quiet, and tranquility. We encountered a lot of large loud groups on our way out late morning. Trail is moderately easy but do recommend good shoes as it is long. Forest is stunning and the water crystal clear!

1 month ago

Loved it

hiking
1 month ago

Loved it

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous hike but could use some signage to guide you to the actual falls. Had a great hike and loved the natural slide.

1 month ago

gnarly ass cliff jumping at opal pools bro

backpacking
1 month ago

We hiked through Jawbone flats on the way in and on the way out we took the trail on the other side of the river. Very easy hike in as most of it was on a dirt road. We were there on a weekday so we hardly saw anyone the whole time. Although we did hear from the one person we saw that the pools had up to 60 people in them. We just swam by our campsite in the little pools there and we had a great time. We were all alone. Our boys played on the water slide and they loved that. They had it all to themselves. Our black lab had the roughest go on the trip. Wasps and yellow jackets kept attacking him ferociously. Overall we liked the trip. We had fun.

hiking
1 month ago

The hike is long and goes up and down hills, but flat sometimes. Nice forrest hike in the summer! Jawbone flats was super cool same with all the old mining equipment and closed mining shafts around! Frigid, clear, emerald waters are sooooo inviting on hot days. Go early to beat the crowds and parking is a b*tchhhhhhh if you come later then 10, have to park on side of road about 1/2 mile from trail head sometimes further. Theres plenty of off trail swim spots as well as the labeled ones, but just as worth it. PLEASE TAKE OUT THE TRASH YOU BRING IN. It is so heartbreaking to see so much litter and access if difficult to road for maintenance to clean up so PLEASE, TAKE YOUR TRASH WITH YOU.
Anyways, all and all, the water was sooooo rewarding afterwards.
Totally worth the work and the drive out!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful scenery!! The rocky trail is hard on the feet. I wish we would have kept going towards the education center and Jawbone instead of taking the 1.3 mile trail off to the right because that trail is brutal!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was somewhat disappointing. I made it to slide falls before turning back. Heavily trafficked on a Friday from 12-3 pm. Lots of kids, lots of their parents asking for directions. I was frequently stuck behind large, slow moving groups.

Three stars because as suggested in the comments, the waterfall under the first bridge was really nice. Make the steep hike down, turn right right before the bridge. Nobody else was down there despite the place having almost 50 cars in the lot. The water is a really pretty blue. I would go back to this spot and not make the rest of the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Long hike, beautiful waters, some swimming spots

1 month ago

the way to do this is really to hike out to cedar flats, camp overnight, then reward yourself on the walk back with a dip in the creek on a hot day, if you ask me! the gravel road really does cause some foot pain and feels like a trudge, so heads up on that. weekends may be hard to find parking or secluded spots. will definitely return for an overnight again. easy hike with a few obstacles like scooting across fallen trees on a cliffside if you take the trail out to cedar flats, but well marked and well maintained regardless.

2 months ago

Great hike, will be doing this one again!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike! Be prepared to drive over five miles on a gravel road to get there; our rental SUV was just the ticket. Parking could be an issue on the weekend, we saw about 20 cars there on a Tuesday. Although we weren’t alone, we didn’t feel that it was too crowded by any means.
Just before two miles, start looking to the right of the trail. When you see a bunch of old rusty machinery, follow your ears to the right to get to the first swimming hole, a beautiful waterfall with clear, cool pools beneath. It’s a steep scramble to get down but totally worthwhile. Two tenths of a mile further, the path forks at a sign. Both trails end at the Opal Pool, another beautiful swimming hole. The left fork is about 1.1 miles and goes through an old mining town (now an educational center) and the right fork goes through forest on a steep and narrow path. There is a sign on the right fork which states that it is 1.3 miles to Opal Pool, but it is really much farther. Keep walking until you see the bridge, and if you want you can return the other way in which you came.
Loved it and and will come back.

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike filled with nature beauty of mountains, woods and pools.

hiking
2 months ago

We started early...saw no one on our way to the pools. Beautiful hike the whole way....water was cold but nice for the kids and dog to play in before heading back.

2 months ago

great place to take a largr group and to swim

2 months ago

although the water is beautiful I don't think I would do this hike again. I think it is slightly overrated. I have seen more beautiful scenery with less people around (Not that it isn't pretty). People complain about hiking on the gravel road but it is honestly one of the nicer and maintained paths I've encountered in my hiking days. As we were analyzing people we noticed a lot of them we're wearing flip-flops and Van type shoes. So that is why their feet hurt. Not the trails fault it is their fault so ignore those comments if you are prepared with proper shoes. We could never find the falls in the pictures you see. After returning from the hike we honestly think they are the falls after crossing the very first Bridge. So if that's what you want to see then I would just crawl down from there if that's what you're going for. I think the bridge was about a half-mile in.

At about 2 mi in you hit a junction. It says going to the right you have 1.3 miles to opal Creek and to the left you have an education center.(take The education center trail if you want to see Jawbone flats and the old cars). We went to the right only to find it took us to a random location with some pretty Falls and Clear water. There was a natural slide as well. We ended up having to cross the water after enjoying it for a little bit only to end up back on the same Trail heading towards the education center. We continued hiking up to finally get to Jawbone Flats and saw the old cars from the 1920s that we were hoping to see. At this point we saw another sign that said only a quarter mile more to get to opal Creek and we were thinking it was going to be the Falls we were anticipating only to get there and find it was a random Gorge area. The Gorge was pretty but after spending about 4 to 5 miles of hiking all over the place we were done. we are experienced hikers so the 4 to 5 miles isn't bad but we were tired from all the other hiking that day. I'm more frustrated that signs weren't very clear. So if you're wanting to go to see the falls and nothing else just stop at the first bridge and hike down from there and you will have some beautiful Falls.

We hiked at least 8 miles RT with taking the ill-marked signs And never got to the actual falls bc of poor signage. we asked multiple ppl but were told different things. pretty water, but I'd do a different hike next time with just as pretty water.

2 months ago

Good trail, mostly road.

hiking
2 months ago

The water is so crystal clear but the gravel road is hard on the feet. Most of it was walking on the road.

2 months ago

The water is beautiful but other hikes have the same. This trail is half a gravel road and the loop is over 7 miles. The gravel road is a feet killer so be prepared. Once was enough for this one.

hiking
3 months ago

Lots to explore on this hike. This is one of my favorites.

I'm so glad the potholes have been fixed!

walking
3 months ago

One of my favorites! Very packed on weekends because it's so popular. Love cooling off in the water next to the waterfall at Jawbone or at the natural rock water slide on hot summer days.

hiking
3 months ago

Start early. There are a ton of people on this trail. Also it is more like a road than a trail. It was something fun to check out, but I doubt I will do this hike again.

3 months ago

One of my favorite places. A must see and explore!

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