Set in the heart of the Opal Creek Wilderness, Jawbone Flats is an old mining town that is now a tiny, thriving community based around the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center.
Gold miners moved into the area as early as 1859, and by 1930 the Jawbone Flats mining camp had begun to take shape. Mining continued in the valley until 1992, when the Shiny Rock Mining Company bestowed the 151 acres, including Jawbone Flats, to Friends of Opal Creek. Friends of Opal Creek, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, now maintains the community of Jawbone Flats which includes the Ancient Forest Center (which runs a summer outdoor schools and forestry workshops), residences for staff, several vacation rentals, and its own small hydroelectric plant.
One key feature that makes Jawbone Flats so special is that it can only be accessed via a 3.1 mile one-way hike along the Opal Creek Trail, which ensures solitude and calm for all its visitors. While you are visiting, discover all of the abandoned machinery and vehicles that have been left behind over the last century, explore the numerous swimming holes of Opal Creek, and enjoy additional hikes to Cedar Flats, Henline Falls, Henline Mountain, or climb 3,000 feet to the top of Whetstone Mountain to enjoy views of the entire wilderness, Mount Jefferson, and numerous other peaks of the Cascade Range.
Note: Significant crowding, vandalism, and disruptive behavior have resulted in several new regulations. The implementation of these regulations follows an extensive public comment period. Effective May 26, 2017: