Explore the most popular 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.

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Elkhorn, Oregon Map
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Super awesome hike!! Totally kick ass though. Straight uphill and lots of switch backs, but worth it.

hiking
4 days ago

Very easy long hike with a beautiful bridge and view at the halfway point. Cool mine town place also. long drive to get there though from salem area.

Basically, the right side is a trail and the left is a road. Look up some good directions online. Get there early. The rock slide isn't marked so you have to watch for it.

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.

backpacking
16 days ago

It only seems like a quick little out n back.

6.4 mi if you're just gonna take a mellow walk to one of Oregon's smallest towns with a population of less than 20--though they do have their own hydroelectric power plant, a lodge, and cool little cabins.

So if you want a flat n easy 3.2 out, 3.2 back with some decent swimming holes here in there, go for it: anyone can make it. It's a flat and easy gravel road through some nice old growth that's as mellow on the feet as fat aunt Sharon's orthotics.

Start venturing off the trail, however, and you'll begin to find remnants and massive machinery from over a century ago when it was an active mining community. There are enormous boilers and hulking gear-and-pulley systems from times before there was power in the area. Many (giant) pieces of machinery were run from high-pressure steam systems, not to mention and gravity-fed mining hydro-systems. You'll find a little of this if you poke around off the main trail, but the hikes that aren't listed here are the ones that start at Jawbone Flats--and they offer some amazing glances back at a time and way of life long-forgotten.

Head east past the town, follow a spooky old sign pointing to the mines, and you'll find yourself on an amazing dark old growth over-canyon trail for a mile or two with remnants of old train tracks, machinery, and things you'd expect to see in grainy black-and-white Ken Burns photo-montages.

There are other cool creek trails with roots and medium-easy footing challenges south past the trail to the Opal Pools. if you want to explore some pleasantly deserted creek trails (with a decent spot or two to camp if you can handle some spots of tricky footing with your pack and gear).

But if you make it to the mines and start exploring in earnest, you'll discover that the trail didn't always end there. Find the remnants of a gigantic bridge and structure that probably washed away 50 years ago and you'll start finding things: like a trail that can connect you with the Bull of the Woods systems.

Moreover, not all of the mines are barred-off and closed. Make the dog-leg to the Ruth mine a little longer before you head-back on the upper trail a bit longer, and explore to the east, and maybe try-out the remnants of a road or two that looks like it hasn't been walked/used in 30 years, and you might find things. Also, look up/explore the canyon if you find the leftovers of a 15-ft wide bridge (and be careful on the rocks/over the stream--no one will be coming by if you make an error).

Anyway, it's an easy and popular hike if you like it easy, but if you're a bushwhacker's bushwhacker and have some time to explore and hop a stream or two, there are things to be found in the Opal Creek wilderness. And exercise caution if you poke-around: you'll often be the only one around for miles if you find something cool, and some of then old stream crossings/bridges are tenuous. Moreover, the navigation of trails that suffered a washout or haven't been maintained since the last century can be a challenge. And also a reward.

Beautiful hike. Great trail to hike on. Wish it was marked better. Saw all the falls but didn’t know which ones they were. Jaw bone flats was really cool. Would I do this hike again.. probably not.

hiking
19 days ago

Easy little stroll through the woods till you arrive at opal creek

hiking
25 days ago

Last couple miles are overgrown, but the hike alongside the mountains is beautiful!

Hiked this after Henline Trail (waterfall). Only saw one other person. Amazing views! Will be doing again.

hiking
30 days ago

the trail was really nice and our dogs loved it ! wide path !

Really amazing hike! Lot of razorbacks and some steep points but super amazing and such an awesome view all along the way (especially at the top)!

Nice walk along mostly gravel path.

walking
1 month ago

beautiful easy hike! the leaves are gorgeous right now!

I’ve done this twice now. It’s a pretty trail no matter what time of year. WALK ON THE GRAVEL ROAD UNTIL YOU SEE A BRIDGE TO THE RIGHT. I see many people getting lost on the off spurt trails. Dog friendly, not a hard trail either. The gravel road is more tiring than the actual trail. Lots of cool history as well.

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
1 month 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
2 months 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.

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.

Beautiful opal waters

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

hiking
2 months 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
2 months ago

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

2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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!

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.

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