Explore the most popular walking trails near Elkhorn with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

1 month ago

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!!!

on Opal Creek Trail

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.

Steady uphill hike with a beautiful view from the top.

on Opal Creek Trail

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!

Loved it

hiking
1 month ago

Loved it

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.

on Opal Creek Trail

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

This is a good little run up the mountain. It's more difficult than moderate. It's a good path but steep. Go in the summer. Normally snow till July, but this year it was clear in April. Take a truck, some cars could make it but as someone that has done it with a car I advise at least something with clearance. Rocks fall on the road all the time and it can be sketchy trying to get around as one side is a straight drop off and the other side of the road is a wall. One of the best views!

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

hiking
1 month ago

The drive up is freaky and the hike is very steep on one side. The view is worth it though. There were also a lot of flies on the hike but also beautiful butterflies. I recommend not to do this hike in 90 degree weather like I did.

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.

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.

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. ;)

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.

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