"The Journey is the Destination" ~ Dan Eldon
Opal Creek Wilderness Dispersed Site, N Fork Santiam River
This was a great little overnight spot, right on the creek which Mason loved! Far enough off the road for privacy and with a peaceful creek. This spot didn't come without its negatives which are typical of dispersed sites - lots of trash around which always makes me angry. But after a 5 min clean up you have a great site with tons of privacy compared to the campground just down the road. And the outdoor adventures around are numerous! See below for the hikes we tries while in this area.
Directions: 12 miles northwest of Detroit. From Salem, follow Hwy 22 east to Mehama. Turn on Little North Santiam Road (FS 2209) and proceed for about 17 miles, then about 4 miles on FS 2207. Just a couple miles past the Shady Cove campground. You will go by several picnic pullouts on the right and a really nice waterfall on the left and then this site is on the right.
Nearby Hikes and Sights.....
Sullivan Falls is just up the road from the dispersed campsite. Great little waterfall with a neat little chute. Would make a great stop for lunch and a dip in a cool pool.
Henline Falls - This 1.8 mi roundtrip trail leads to a 90 foot waterfall, with a nice pool and the remnants of an abandoned mine shaft from the 1930's. The trail meanders through young Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock forest and with only a 200 feet elevation gain it makes for a great easy hike for a family. The mine shaft is blocked off about 30 feet in, but we found a little geocache surprise inside the dark tunnel.
Directions: 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 the left side. GPS N44º 50.603', W122º 20.193'
Three Pools Day Use Area - This is a popular summer destination with spectacular emerald pools attracting well over 15,000 visitors each year, primarily for swimming. I wish we had the opportunity to visit on a weekday and maybe have the place to ourselves! The pools are deep enough for diving and very beautiful!
Directions: 12 miles northwest of Detroit. From Salem, follow Hwy 22 east to Mehama. Turn on Little North Santiam Road (FS 2209) and proceed for 17 miles to Three Pools Day Use Area.