This is a more adventurous version of Classic Opal. It has many of the same features as that run, but requires a hike in and has a more serious feel to it, but does not reach a difficulty that requires class V skills. So if you have a good time on the regular run, and are curious as to what's upstream, check it out. It's best to get an early start so you can continue down to Three Pools instead of having to walk out from the Mine. It's worth doing your homework beforehand so you have an idea when to be on the look out for the more serious rapids and know the hazards of each. Mainly the shallow landing zones in Cascadios Los Ninos, the line at the difficult to scout Harvey Wallbanger, the location of Coyle's Boyle and the eddies above it, as well as the safest lines at the two ledges between Coyle's and the Mine at the Classic put in.
Little North Santiam: Upper Opal from Into the Outside
Upper Opal description on Oregonkayaking.net
Logistics: From Highway 22 mile 23.2 turn onto Little North Santiam Road (this turn is at a flashing light on the west side of the Highway 22 bridge across the North Santiam). Head up this road paralleling the river and at mile 16.9 where the road comes to a Y turn right onto Forest Road 2207. Follow this road down 0.7 mile to 3 Pools which is the take-out. To reach the put-in head back up to the Y and this time take the left fork onto Forest Road 2209. Follow this road to the gate at mile 21.1. From here you will hike in to the Merten Mill historic site (put-in for Upper Opal) or continue on up past Jawbone Flat and above the confluence with Battle Axe Creek. Jawbone Flat is about 3 miles up the trail and the location of the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center which is a great place to spend the night.
This gauge is located a ways downstream of the run but
provides a reference for flow.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
On January 15th, American Whitewater submitted comments in support of clean-up activities at two inactive mines near Battle Axe and Opal Creeks in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon. The mines operated until the late 1980's, and are located 2 miles east of Jaw Bone Flats in the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area. Waste rock and soil from the mines has the potential to contaminate nearby rivers and streams through leaching and mass wasting events. American Whitewater provided comment to support clean up activities so long as they are protective of all uses, including whitewater boating.
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