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Little North Santiam River Trail

Willamette Foothills, Oregon

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Little North Santiam River Trail

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  • The Shady Cove Campground Trailhead.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • An information plaque at the Shady Cove Campground Trailhead.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • The Shady Cove Campground Trailhead.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • The Little North Santiam River from the bridge at the Shady Cove Campground Trailhead.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • The Little North Santiam River from the bridge at the Shady Cove Campground Trailhead.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Thick forest surrounds the trail.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Thick forest surrounds the trail.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Views between the trees of the vibrant river.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Views between the trees of the vibrant river.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • One of many footbridges crossing a creek.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • A creek crossing.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • One of many footbridges crossing a creek.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Views between the trees of the vibrant river.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Views between the trees of the vibrant river.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Lush greenery of the forest, especially in the spring.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • A rocky bar that is ideal for swimming.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Views between the trees of the vibrant river.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • The Three Pools swimming area.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • The Three Pools swimming area.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • The Three Pools swimming area at high flow.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • The Three Pools swimming area at high flow.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Some bridges are still passable despite winter storm damage.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Views between the trees of the vibrant river.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Some bridges are still passable despite winter storm damage.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • A rudimentary footbridge crossing a small creek.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Vegetation growing right off a downed tree.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • One of many footbridges crossing a creek.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • A view of the adjacent Henline Mountain from the high point of the trail.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Cliffs high above the river.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • The emerald green waters of the river are quite inviting.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Henline Mountain above the Little North Santiam River.- Little North Santiam River Trail
  • Evening light on some gentle rapids.- Little North Santiam River Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Old-growth forest. Swimming holes.
Cons: 
Crowds.
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Region:
Willamette Foothills, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,342.00 ft (409.04 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.50 mi (8.85 km)
Trail type: 
Shuttle
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,552.00 ft (473.05 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Opal Creek area is known for its emerald green waters, old-growth Douglas fir forests, and many cascading waterfalls. The Little North Santiam River Trail traces a popular section of the river, including the Three Pools.

This trail can be completed as a one-way with a car shuttle or an out-and-back. The trail follows the river with many small spurs to access the water, including possibly dozens of swimming holes and access via the opposite river bank to the Three Pools parking area. There are also a few designated backcountry campsites.

While the trail meanders with a mild grade, there is a section of trail that switches back and rises approximately 500 vertical feet to a viewpoint high above the river. Numerous rustic footbridges cross tributaries to the Little North Santiam River. Enjoy classic scenes of lush greenery typical of an Oregon forest and the steady dull roar of the river.

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(37 within a 30 mile radius)

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