Few places offer a better escape from the summer heat than the Opal Creek Wilderness. In fact, if you don’t mind the company of other visitors, the crystal clear waters of the Little North Santiam River provide the best swimming holes in the state. If you are on your way to Opal Creek or Three Pools, stop off at Salmon Falls to take the big 22-foot plunge off of the concrete fish ladder on the south side of the falls. If you are just looking to bask in the sun for an afternoon, venture up the river from the falls and find a spot anywhere along the river’s sunny banks.
Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.