Hike to Jawbone Flats: Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

Built as a mining town in 1929, Jawbone Flats is now the base of operations for Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, a wilderness education non-profit in the heart of the Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Recreation Areas.

The 3.1-mile hike to our property starts at the Opal Creek trailhead and follows the pristine waters of the North Fork of the Santiam River, through some of the last remaining low-elevation old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest. The Jawbone Flats program season runs from April - November, but the trails are open year-round as long as the roads are clear.

In the summer you'll pass by cabin renters and youth backpackers, in the spring and the fall you'll see our outdoor school students and workshop participants, and in the wintertime you may come across our facilities team working on construction projects.

Just beyond Jawbone Flats is Opal Pool, a beautiful destination for a 6.25-mile round-trip hike with the option of returning partway along the Kopetski trail. The trail also continues past Jawbone Flats farther into the Opal Creek and Bull of the Woods Wildernesses for amazing backcountry travel opportunities. Read more about the most popular hikes at Opal Creek here: www.opalcreek.org/trails

The Opal Creek trailhead requires a US Forest Service permit of $5 per vehicle per day (bring exact change), or a Northwest Forest Pass or Interagency Pass.

For detailed directions on how to reach the Jawbone Flats, and for more information, check out the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center’s website by clicking the button above.

Add to the Discussion (1)


8 years ago

Love it! Such a cool place to visit and an amazing hike. Thanks for sharing it, Gabrielle and team!

You must Log In to send a new comment.
Central Oregon
Eastern Oregon
Greater Portland
The Gorge + Mt. Hood
Oregon Coast
Southern Oregon
Willamette Valley