A nice long hike, and worth every bit of effort!
Location: Opal Creek is located north of Bear Creek and Salmon Falls. From Downtown Salem, OR, take Hwy 22 east for 23 miles. Turn left onto Little North Fork Rd. (This is the second set of yellow flashing lights.) Stay on this road for 21 miles. The last 5.5 miles are gravel road. Keep following the brown signs directing you to the Opal Creek Trailhead. It is at the end of the road, you can’t go any further.
Difficulty: 2/5 (for kids) just because of the length of this hike
Kid Friendly: Yes, this is a great hike for little legs. Just be aware they may tire before the end of the hike. This hike is 3.2 miles out and 3.2 miles back, but well worth the effort.
Stroller Accessible: This hike travels along a gravel road that is accessible for forest vehicles so it is wide and relatively well groomed. There are parts of the road that is densely covered with gravel which could make it a little difficult for strollers, however, these are few and far between so it may be worth the effort to take a good jogging stroller, if that’s what you prefer. When you get to the end of the hike, near the bridge over Opal Pool, if you want to go and play in the river, it may be a challenge to get a stroller down. A couple people could help with that no problem!!
Description: When you look at the map up at the trailhead for Opal Creek, be sure to note where on the map the trailhead is. This can be confusing along the trail to figure out where you are on the map if you don’t recognize this. This map covers many trails starting a few miles before the trailhead for Opal Creek. Just be aware and you’ll do great.
About .7 miles into the trail you’ll notice a split in the trail. To get to the Opal Pool, (a longer hike) take the path on the left. If you want a shorter hike, take the path to the right.
On the path to the left, we took this toward the Opal Pool. Along the way we found a few little treasures. We found a couple beautiful mini waterfalls that the kids enjoyed playing in. We also peeked into an old mine that is blocked off for any entry. A few feet down the road on the opposite side, we were able to check out some old metal pieces left over from the mining era. We saw the boiler, some wheels and other fun things. We also saw an old barn.
Once you are about 3.1 miles down the trail, the trail will split again. To the right will be the Opal Pool with a bridge going over it. You can follow this path for about 1/4 miles before it ends and you can turn around and come back. We played in the Opal Pools for quite a long time. Bring your swimsuits. It is chilly water but so fun to play in.
The path to the left continues along Jawbone Flats where the miners resided in the mining days. There is also a camp ground along there.
This is a great, satisfying hike. Absolutely beautiful.
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