Opal Creek

Gates, Oregon

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The Opal Creek Wilderness is a low-elevation ancient forest that is home to the largest intact stand of old-growth forest in the western Cascades. Trees in this area can range up to 1,000 years old. Because the forest has remained intact for so long, the flora and fauna interact the way nature intended. Cycles that can take hundreds of years to complete have been left alone to do so, and in the process the forest filters Opal Creek to a state of pristine beauty. Oh, and it has waterfalls! If the opportunity to experience a forest in unaltered ancient condition isn’t enough, the hike to Opal Creek provides other diversions. The loop hike begins at the gated road to the former mining community of Jawbone Flats (population 9). The town now serves as home to the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. The small amount of mining that was done here was performed without chemicals, leaving the watershed undisturbed. Only residents are allowed to drive the road, but fortunately there are some interesting things to see along the walk into town.
Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon

by Adam Sawyer (Falcon Guides)

The Opal Creek Wilderness is a low-elevation ancient forest that is home to the largest intact stand of old-growth forest in the western Cascades. Trees in this area can range up to 1,000 years old. Because the forest has remained intact for so long, the flora and fauna interact the way nature intended. Cycles that can take hundreds of years to complete have been left alone to do so, and in the process the forest filters Opal Creek to a state of pristine beauty. Oh, and it has waterfalls!

If the opportunity to experience a forest in unaltered ancient condition isn’t enough, the hike to Opal Creek provides other diversions. The loop hike begins at the gated road to the former mining community of Jawbone Flats (population 9). The town now serves as home to the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. The small amount of mining that was done here was performed without chemicals, leaving the watershed undisturbed. Only residents are allowed to drive the road, but fortunately there are some interesting things to see along the walk into town.

© 2014 Adam Sawyer/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Gates
Distance: 9.2
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Difficult
Features: Waterfalls
Local Contacts: Detroit Ranger District, (503) 854-3366, www.fs.usda.gov/willamette
Local Maps: DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer Oregon, page 35, B9
Driving Directions: Directions to Opal Creek

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Apr 2018