Three Pools are beautiful and deep swimming holes located on the North Fork of the Santiam River in Willamette National Forest. Emerald pools with crystal clear water are surrounded by rock and basalt outcroppings. The beauty of this place made it one of the favorite summer getaways in Oregon. So, unfortunately, you will see crowds during the swimming season from June through August. This quiet place attracts more than 15,000 visitors each year. Three Pools Day Use Area is open all year round.
Pools are located in a short walk from the parking area. Make sure you learn about regulations protecting this area before you visit. If you would like to spend the night in the area, there is Shady Cove Campground and other campsites surrounding the Three Pools day-use area.
The Little North Santiam is the primary and most popular swimming hole at Three Pools. A quieter area can be found on the south bank of the Little North Santiam. To do some hiking, opt for the Little North Santiam Trail #3338 in the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area. The trail goes along the river and can be hiked all year round. The trail starts at the Little North Santiam West Trailhead and goes down through some rocky switchbacks. It also passes a forest with giant cedars and Douglas-firs.