May 2020 – Opal Creek Trail

When I put together the “preliminary” hiking schedule for the year, May was Opal Creek month. When we heard that the Willamette National Forest was going to reopen, we knew it was our chance to get it in! Is anyone else grateful that some trails are starting to reopen? Is it just me?

I’m guessing it’s not just me.

So, full disclosure: we were really hoping to hike through Jawbone Flats to get to Opal Pool, but that way was closed. We honored that closure and took the Kopetski trail. BUT, just before the turnoff to Kopetski, there are a few pieces of mining equipment still buried in the forest.

Once on Kopetski Trail, it all narrows and you’re back to hiking in the woods. Yessssssss!! Overall, the trail itself was in decent condition. There were a few spots where the trail was essentially a creek or a bit muddy, but you heard no qualms from either of us. We were just so happy to breathe it all in.

We made our way to the big bridge, took some pretty pictures, and then meandered a short ways back to some flat space and had a snack under the trees.

A few things to note about the trail:

  • I’d recommend a VERY capable vehicle to get to the trailhead. There’s 6-7 miles that are unpaved road and the potholes are also axle breakers. Drive carefully.
  • Grab your annual National Park pass before heading out the door, as it’s honored in this park! Otherwise, you’ll need to get a Northwest Forest Pass, which are $5. PS. Parking can get a little tricky, so make sure you fully understand the rules before you’re in the middle of nowhere and have zero phone reception. I took a screenshot of the “Parking Restrictions” section, just in case.
  • On the Kopetski Trail, you cross over some rushing water on logs twice. One of the logs has a handrail, one of them doesn’t. Keep that in mind as you take out little ones.
  • There was only one gnarly part of the trail where it was rocky, next to a cliff, and downhill. I took my time quasi-scrambling down and it wasn’t too bad (coming back up that part was cake). Otherwise, the trail itself is pretty flat and easy-peasy.

Happy Hiking, friends!

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