|Little North Fork Santiam River|
I doubt if there could have been a better day to stroll along the Little North Santiam River inside the Opal Creek Recreation Area. This 4.5 mile trail meanders along the beaches and benches of the river's shoreline, climbs steeply above the roar of its turbulent stretches and emerald pools to views overlooking its narrow gorge, Henline Mountain, and Triple Falls.
The trail then returns to its meandering demeanor before ending along what was a rustic bridge recently refurbished. Great laminated wood beams arched from end to end along the bridge's span, appealing to the eye in its woodsy setting. Unfortunately, I read somewhere that this bridge had since been washed out in a flood.
At one end of the bridge, nestled amongst the hemlock forest, is the entrance to a tiny campground dubbed Shady Cove. Far above it rises the rugged cliffs of Henline Mountain. A 3.8 mile trail leads hikers to the top of that mountain.
Bridge with curved laminated beams
You can use all the descriptive words you can muster, but none of them do this trail any justice. You have to see the clear waters of this river and the wild area surrounding it yourself to really experience its grandeur.
Waterfalls from the trail