Opal Creek wilderness is an excellent area to hike the ancient and rugged forest with large towering trees, picturesque waterfalls, and refreshing swimming holes. With eight trails for hiking and biking, five lakes and dozens of waterfalls, this 20,746-acre wilderness is a paradise for backpackers and campers. The trails are open year round, but the best season for hiking and kayaking is from April to October.
The popular 11-km (7-mi) Opal Creek Trail, also known as Kopetski Trail, can be reached from Lyons, OR, in about two hours from Portland by car. The hike starts at the Opal Creek Trailhead in the spectacular cedar forest, among 500-year-old trees. After hikers cross the high bridge over Gold Creek, they can get all the way to the scenic Opal Pool and abandoned mining camp of Jawbone Flats. After several hours of walking it's great to take a break near at the Slide Falls or Sawmill Falls. Both falls feature deep green pools of clear water ideal for a refreshing summertime swim.
Jawbone Flats is an interesting town boasting a couple of dozens of buildings dating back to 1929-1932. Jawbone Flats is not an abandoned town, it has residents, and visitors are asked to respect their privacy. A village has a store with snacks and drinks to refill your supplies. There are also a few cabins available for rent.