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Opal Creek Wilderness Trail Information




Trail Locations & Details

French Creek #3349

Length: 7.7 miles one way

Elevation: 4400 to 5100

Season: Early summer to early fall

Usage: Low

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Water: None

How to get there: From Detroit Ranger Station travel East on Hwy 22 for approximately 1 mile to forest road 2223 (French Creek Road), turn left and travel for about 4 miles to forest road 2207. Veer right onto 2207, travel for about 4 miles. Trailhead is on right.

Access #2: From Detroit Ranger Station travel East on Hwy 22 for approximately 1 mile to forest road 2223 (French Creek Road), turn left and travel for about 2 miles to forest road 2225. Turn right and travel for about 6 miles to forest road 458. Turn right and travel for about 2 miles. Trailhead is on left.

Trail Description: The trail meanders through older Douglas-fir, Western Hemlock and Noble fir forest. Views of the cascades can be seen along the ridges as well as wildflowers.

Comments: With the two access points, this provides with a shuttle opportunity.


Henline Mtn #3352

Length: 2.7 miles one way

Elevation: 2000 to 4100

Season: Late spring to early fall

Usage: Low

Difficulty: Difficult

Water: None

How to get there: From Salem, travel East on Hwy 22 to milepost 23, at the Swiss Village Restaurant. Turn left on North Fork Road, which is marked "Little North Santiam Recreation Area". Travel about 19.5 miles to forest road 2209 and 2207 junction, continue on 2209 for about 1 mile, trailhead on left.

Trail Description: The trail meanders through young Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock forest. The trail is steep and rocky. Views of the cascades.

Comments: None


Henline Falls #3348

Length: 0.8 miles one way

Elevation: 1600 to 2000

Season: Early spring to late fall

Usage: Medium

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Water: Henline Creek. No potable water. Water from streams should be filtered or treated.

How to get there: From Salem, travel East on Hwy 22 to milepost 23, at the Swiss Village Restaurant. Turn left on North Fork Road, which is marked "Little North Santiam Recreation Area". Travel about 19 miles to forest road 2207 junction, continue past this junction for ¼ mile. Trailhead is on left side.

This also provides access to Ogle Mountain trail #3357 where it intersects with Henline Falls trail.

Trail Description: The trail meanders through young Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock forest. The trail ends at Henline Falls. Here you will find remnants of old mining from 1930's. A mine adit was built into the solid rock wall and goes back in about 1500 feet.

Comments: Use caution and supervise children and pets closely near waterfall, slippery rocks, uneven terrain and steep drop offs can be very dangerous.

The abandoned mine does contain some hazards such as wet slippery floor, low ceiling and small rocks scattered on the floor.


Ogle Mtn #3357

Contact: Detroit Ranger District for more information.


Opal Lake #3372

Length: 1 mile one way

Elevation: 4200 down to 3800 feet

Season: Late spring to late fall

Usage: Low

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Water: Opal Lake and Opal Creek. No potable water. Water from streams and lakes should be filtered or treated.

How to get there: From Salem, travel east on Highway 22 approximately 49.5 miles and turn left onto French Creek rd(FS rd 2223). Continue approximately 5 miles to the 2207 junction and turn right. Continue on the 2207 approximately 9 miles to the Opal Lake trailhead on the right.

Trail Description: This trail drops down extremely steep to the level of Opal Lake. Then meanders through the meadows upstream of Opal Lake on it’s way to the lake.

Comments: Be ready for questionable footing and steep terrain.


Opal Creek #4187

Length: 2.6 miles one way

Elevation: 2000 to 2700 feet

Season: Late spring to late fall

Usage: High

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Water: Little North Santiam River and Opal Ck. No potable water. Water from streams should be filtered or treated.

How to get there: From Salem, travel East on Hwy 22 to milepost 23, at the Swiss Village Restaurant. Turn left on North Fork Road, which is marked "Little North Santiam Recreation Area". To access Opal Ck trail, travel about 21 miles on the 2209 to the Opal Ck trailhead parking area. Hike approximately 3 miles up the road past the gate and the Opal Ck trail will begin with a foot-bridge crossing on the right. You can also access the trail via a short-cut trail with foot-bridge just past Jawbone Flats on FS road #2209.

Trail Description: This trail follows the Little North Santiam River at it’s lower extent then turns and follows Opal Ck heading to the south. The trail meanders along-side the creeks through old-growth fir stands. The trail climbs along Opal Creek eventually reaching Cedar Flats where there are several awe-inspiring old-growth cedar trees. This trail has difficult footing and steep pitches in places.

Comments: This trail does not offer connectivity to Opal Lake. This trail ends at Cedar Flats approximately 2 miles northeast of Opal Lake.


Little North Santiam #3338

Length: 4.5 miles one way

Elevation: 1300 to 1600

Season: Early spring to early winter

Usage: Medium

Difficulty: From Elkhorn trailhead Moderate to Difficult, from Shady Cove Campground trailhead Easy to Difficult

Water: Little North Santiam River and several intermitten streams. No potable water. Water from streams should be filtered or treated.

How to get there: From Salem, travel East on Hwy 22 to milepost 23, at the Swiss Village Restaurant. Turn left on North Fork Road, which is marked "Little North Santiam Recreation Area". To access Elkhorn trailhead, travel about 15 miles to forest road 201 (Elkhorn Drive), turn right and travel about ½ mile.

To access Shady Cove Campground and trailhead, continue on North Fork Road for about 4 miles to forest road 2207, turn right and travel about 2.5 miles to Shady Cove campground. Continue across the bridge, trailhead parking is on left, trail is on right.

Trail Description: The trail meanders along the picturesque Little North Santiam River through young and older Douglas-fir forest. Several cascading waterfalls, deep emerald pools and a spectacular gorge with towering rock walls can be seen along the trail. There are eight rustic log footbridges along the trail.

Comments: Use caution and supervise children and pets closely when traveling off of the main trail. Slippery rocks, uneven terrain and steep banks and cliffs are natural hazards that can be very dangerous.

Access from Shady Cove Campground trailhead provides an easy hike for about 2 miles.

Horse travel is restricted due to bridge and stair structures that are not negotiable.


Beachie #3341

Contact: Detroit Ranger District for more information.


Battle Ax Creek #3339

Length: 4 miles one way

Elevation: 2700 to 4500 feet

Season: Late spring to late fall

Usage: Low

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Water: NO potable water. Battle Ax and other small creeks. Water from streams and lakes should be filtered or treated.

How to get there: From Salem, to access the West end of the trail travel East on Hwy 22 to milepost 23, at the Swiss Village Restaurant. Turn left on North Fork Road, which is marked "Little North Santiam Recreation Area" and travel about 21miles to the trailhead at Opal Creek Gate trailhead. Hike approximately 8 miles on the 2209 past the gate until the road turns into a trail(this is the Battle Ax Creek trail).

To access the East end of the Battle Ax Creek trail travel east on Highway 22 approximately 50 miles and turn left onto the Breitenbush Highway 46(FS Rd 4600). Continue approximately 4.3 miles to the Humbug Rd(FS rd 4696) and turn left. Continue approximately 1 mile to the 4697 junction and turn left. Continue up the 4697 approximately 10 miles just past Elk Lake and park near the 390 junction. The Battle Ax Ck trail is off of the end of the 4697(no official trailhead).

Trail Description: This trail described from east to west initially climbs to Beachie Saddle at the Opal Creek Wilderness boundary. The trail then starts decending along the Battle Ax creek drainage. The trail currently lies where an old logging road was once located. The logging road was constructed prior to the inclusion of the Opal Creek area into the Wilderness Preservation System. In most places it is rather obvious that the current trail was at one time a road. This trail does not offer many views.

Comments: Footing can be tricky where historic road culverts and stream crossings have failed over time.


Battle Ax Mtn #3340

Contact: Detroit Ranger District for more information.


Nasty Rock #3356

Length: 1.6 miles one way

Elevation: 2000 to 4500 feet

Season: Late spring to late fall

Usage: Low

Difficulty: Difficult

Water: Tincup Ck and Horn Ck. No potable water. Water from streams should be filtered or treated.

How to get there: From Salem, travel East on Hwy 22 to milepost 23, at the Swiss Village Restaurant. Turn left on North Fork Road, which is marked "Little North Santiam Recreation Area". To access Nasty Rock trailhead, travel about 20.5 miles on the 2209 and keep an eye out for the carsonite post with hiker symbol on the left. Parking is approximately 100 feet before trailhead on the right at a dispersed camping site.

Trail Description: The official portion of this trail is 1.6 miles long on Forest Service Land. The trail aggressively climbs toward the ridgeline to the northwest. Once you reach the ridgeline, the trail turns more northeasterly traversing on the ridgeline towards Nasty Rock. This portion of the trail is not officially maintained by the Forest Service, therefore will likely be extremely challenging to navigate.

Comments: This trail is extremely challenging and steep. Be sure to bring plenty of water and food.


Whetstone #3369

Length: 8.1 miles one way

Elevation: 1900 climbing to 4500, descending back to 2600 feet

Season: Late spring to late fall

Usage: Low to moderate

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Water: No potable water. Water from streams should be filtered or treated.

Battle Axe Ck and Little North Santiam River are at the lowest elevations of the trail only.

How to get there: From Salem, travel East on Hwy 22 to milepost 23, at the Swiss Village Restaurant. Turn left on North Fork Road, which is marked "Little North Santiam Recreation Area". To access Whetstone Mtn trailhead, travel about 21 miles on the 2209 to the Opal Ck trailhead parking area. Hike approximately ¾ of a mile up the road past the gate and the Whetstone Mtn trailhead will be on the left.

Trail Description: This trail climbs through old-growth stands up toward Whetstone Mountain from both ends and follows the ridgeline on which Whetstone Mountain resides. You can catch a glimpse of Mt. Hood near the top of this hike. Elevation gain is substantial from both ends and provides a moderate to difficult challenge.

Comments: Bring plenty of water because there is none available for most of the hike.


Elkhorn Ridge #3347

Length: 4.7 miles one way

Elevation: 3800 to 3900 feet

Season: Late spring to late fall

Usage: Low

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Water: No water is available along the trail.

How to get there: From Salem, to access the West end of the trail travel East on Hwy 22 to milepost 23, at the Swiss Village Restaurant. Turn left on North Fork Road, which is marked "Little North Santiam Recreation Area" and travel about 13.5 miles on the 2209 to Elkhorn Rdg Rd(FS rd 201) and turn right. Travel approximately 10 miles up the 201 to the trailhead.

To access the East end of the Elkhorn Ridge trail travel east on Highway 22 approximately 49.5 miles and turn left onto French Creek rd(FS rd 2223). Continue approximately 15 miles to the end of the 2223 to the East trailhead.

Trail Description: This trail follows along the top of Elkhorn Ridge offering occasional views to the North and South. The “Phantom Natural Bridge” is on the Eastern end of this trail.

Comments: Bring plenty of water because there is none available for most of the hike.

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