The Opal Creek Wilderness is only about an hour’s ride heading East out of Salem, OR. This is a nice size wilderness area lying within the Willamette National Forest, just North of Detroit Lake. This area used to be a little mining village & features the remnants of a mill from when logging was being planned for the area. They started logging, set up buildings and other structures before determining that it isn’t economically feasible to log the area. After a 20 year long struggle to protect the area this largest uncut watershed in Oregon finally became protected area in 1996 when then Senator Mark Hatfield introduced, and achieved success in passage of, federal protection of the Opal Creek area.
Now a days, due to it’s convenient location, it’s a heavily used area for recreation and outdoor activities. In fact, that was one of my complaints about the day was the number of folks we saw while visiting. I like to get out to areas where I can see no one, or very few other visitors. Also, thanks to our dry season, the forested area around the road we traveled was real dusty from heavy vehicle traffic. Still, one can reserve cabins or find plenty of places to camp while visiting. Eight trails bring 50 waterfalls to you by traveling over 36 miles of outdoor fun to a day out in the wilderness.
Here are some images from my trek last Sunday. It was a great day and I’m totally looking to visiting and taking more images again soon.
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Peace, and have a great weekend.