Opal Creek Wilderness


Opal Creek Wilderness ~ Little North Fork Santiam River

The 20,454 acre Opal Creek Wilderness features steep and rugged forested hillsides. The eastern portion of the area encompasses the headwaters of two major creeks (Battle Axe Creek and Opal Creek) which join to become the Little North Santiam River.

The western portion of the area is dominated by two prominent peaks, Whetstone and Henline mountains, which offer scenic vantage points and were once used as fire lookout sites.

There are eight trails totalling 36 miles. These are remnants of the early day prospecting and fire access routes. Most are single destination, in-out trails with little opportunity for loop travel. Many end at old lookout sites which provide some views.

Because of the remoteness and steep topography, very little overnight camping occurs.


At a Glance

Permit Info: Self issue entry permits are required between Memorial Day and October 31.
Best Season: April through October ~ snow dependent
Water: Always carry water or a way to purify water
Passes: Some trailheads require a recreation pass.
Information Center: Detroit Ranger Station

General Information


Access: Opal Creek Wilderness can be reached via Oregon State Highway 22 and Marion County North Fork Road. The county road becomes Forest Road 2209 at the forest boundary. This road parallels the boundary of the western portion of the wilderness.

Three trailheads, Henline Falls-Ogle Mountain, Henline Mountain and Nasty Rock trails are along the road. The eastern or "interior" portion of the wilderness is reached from the gated end of road 2209.

Public vehicle traffic is not permitted beyond the gate but foot, and horse travel is allowed. This former mining access route continues to parallel the wilderness boundary and trailheads for Whetstone Mountain, Mike Kopetski-Opal Creek and Battle Axe Creek trails are located along the route. (Bicycles are allowed on the road beyond the gate into Jawbone Flats but are prohibited on trails off of the road.)

General Notes:

See the Opal Creek Wilderness & Scenic Area Trail Area for trail information.

Close to:


Go to Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.


Areas & Activities



  Area/Length : 
20,454 acres

  Elevation : 
1600 feet - 4600 feet