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Opal Lake Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

This page is marked as a Closed Hike. Some or all of this hike has been closed by a governing body and hikers may be liable for fines or even arrest. At least part of this route may be dangerous and hard to follow, or it may cross areas with sensitive plant life or wildlife habitat. Trailkeepers of Oregon does not endorse or recommend hiking this route. When restrictions are lifted, this notice will be removed.
Looking over Opal Lake (bobcat)
Dilated bog orchid (Platanthera dilatata) at Opal Lake (bobcat)
The short trail to Opal Lake (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Opal Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Opal Lake
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back
  • Distance: 0.8 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation gain: 400 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy, but fairly steep in spots
  • Seasons: Summer and Fall
  • Family Friendly: No, due to the steepness of the trail and remoteness of the area
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

NOTICE: Trails in this area were affected by the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire. Please check current closures in the Willamette National Forest before planning an outing.

The Opal Lake Trail #3372 drops down steeply from FR 2207 less than half a mile to Opal Lake, the source of Opal Creek. Opal Lake is remote and beautiful spot, and of late has been used as a starting point for those wanting to visit elusive Opal Creek Falls, a few-tenths of a mile downstream from the lake (bushwhack only).

The trailhead is 40 yards down the road from the parking pullouts. There is a wilderness permit box to sign in. The rubbly trail drops under Douglas-fir, Alaska yellow-cedar, and mountain hemlock. Pass the wilderness sign and drop farther. Here the trail tread has been eroded into a rocky gully. At times, there are substitute tracks to the side, adding to the potential for more erosion. Noble fir, silver fir, and vine maple also grow in these woods. The trail levels in a lush bottomland with western red-cedar, silver fir, noble fir, salmonberry, and thimbleberry. The trail skirts a boggy meadow blooming with boykinia. Pass through a willow thicket and cross a creek and a bog. Bog orchids are blooming here. Reach the lake and take in the peaceful scene with yellow water lilies and newts lolly-gagging about.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Opal Lake Trail #3372 (USFS)
  • Green Trails Maps: Battle Ax, OR #524
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Opal Creek Wilderness, Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area
  • Geo-Graphics: Bull of the Woods and Opal Creek Wilderness Map
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Willamette National Forest: Detroit Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Willamette National Forest
  • Pacific Northwest Recreation Map Series: Willamette Cascades
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mount Jefferson, Bull of the Woods & Opal Creek Wilderness Trail Map

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • Self-issued Wilderness permit at trailhead

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region by Matt Reeder
  • 50 Old-Growth Hikes in the Willamette National Forest by John & Diane Cissel (map)

More Links


Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.