Three Pools

Opal Creek Wilderness

Willamette Foothills, Oregon

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Three Pools
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  • The beach at Three Pools day-use area.- Three Pools
  • The North Fork of the Santiam River's emerald waters.- Three Pools
  • Three Pools, Opal Creek Wilderness.- Three Pools
  • The beach at Three Pools day-use area.- Three Pools
  • Three Pools, Opal Creek Wilderness.- Three Pools
  • Three Pools, Opal Creek Wilderness.- Three Pools
  • Three Pools, Opal Creek Wilderness.- Three Pools
  • The North Fork of the Santiam River's emerald waters.- Three Pools
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Excellent swimming and cliff-jumping.
Cons: 
Heavy crowds. Cold water.
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Alerts: 
New regulations are in effect for the area, please see details below.
Region:
Willamette Foothills, OR
Congestion: 
High
Location type: 
Cliff jumping
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Three Pools on the North Fork of the Santiam River is among the best swimming and cliff-jumping locations in Oregon.  The unique combination of basalt outcroppings and emerald pools have helped to establish Three Pools as a favorite summer getaway.  You will almost certainly see some crowds here on a sunny day, but the area is large enough to provide a little space for anyone who looks.

Options are limited if you would like to stay overnight in the area.  Shady Cove Campground has 12 campsites, there are campsites along NF-2207, and there are campsites surrounding the Three Pools day-use area.  These latter sites fill up quickly, so a Thursday or Friday arrival for a weekend stay may be in order.

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:

  • Cars will be turned away once the 90-space parking lot for Three Pools is full, and parking will no longer be allowed outside of the parking lot.
  • Significantly, alcohol is now prohibited at the Three Pools Recreation Site.
  • Campfires are now prohibited along the route from the Opal Creek Gate Trailhead to Jawbone Flats. Parking will only be allowed within a quarter mile of the trailhead.
  • Camping is prohibited for 5 miles up Road 46 along the Breitenbush River 500 feet from the roadway.
  • Camping is prohibited at Elk Lake outside of the official Elk Lake Campground.
  • Dispersed camping is prohibited for the first 2 miles up French Creek Road and 8 miles on Blowout Creek Road.

Cliff Jumping Safety

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.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(36 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(65 within a 30 mile radius)

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