Elkhorn Valley - Santiam Swimming

• Elkhorn Valley Recreation Site offers an excellent overnight camping
• Deep section of the river with rocky slopes and vertical cliffs

Elkhorn Valley Campground

Elkhorn Valley - Little North Santiam Swimming

Elkhorn Valley - Santiam Swimming

Elkhorn Valley - Little North Santiam Swimming

Elkhorn Valley Santiam Swimming

Elkhorn Valley Recreation Site is one of many amazing settings, located along the scenic Little North Fork of the Santiam River within the Little North Santiam Recreation Area.

This is an interesting swimming location. Rapids form mini-waterfalls that cascade into the deep swimming hole, surrounded by steep rocky slopes and vertical cliffs. The emerald water is so clear and transparent that every rock and pebble can be counted on the bottom of the pool.

Managed by BLM, the Elkhorn Valley site offers day-use options such as picnicking, hicking, fishing, swimming, rock and cliff jumping. The one-mile River Trail along the river give hikers an access to other swimming holes. During your hike you find beehive-shaped rock known as King Tut's Tomb and two caves.

Elkhorn Valley provides excellent overnight camping opportunities in the secluded spots of old-growth forest for those who plan to visit other places along the Little North Fork of the Santiam River including Opal Creek Wilderness. There are 23 family campsites with fire pit, picnic table, and tent pad. A reservation in advance via Recreation.gov is highly recommended.

There are many swimming and picnicking places along North Fork County Road including North Fork County Park, Bear Creek County Park, Canyon Creek Recreation Area, Salmon Falls County Park, and the Opal Creek Wilderness oasis - Three Pools Recreation Area.


Elkhorn Valley Recreation Site | General Description

Open: May - September from dawn to dusk
Managed: BLM
Location: Little North Santiam Recreation Area

Services: Vault toilets, potable water, garbage service, picnic sites
Activities: Swimming, rock jumping, fishing, hiking
Accommodations: Campground, 23 family campsites with fire pit, some with a barbecue grill.

Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: Yes or Interagency Senior/Access/Military Pass
Dogs: Must be on a leash
Popularity: Moderate to high

Elevation: 900 ft (274 m)

Elkhorn Valley is located:

  • 10.6 miles east of Lyons
  • 34 miles east of Salem
  • 78 miles southeast of Portland
  • 81 miles northeast of Eugene.

Swimming hole rating: 4 out of 5
Water body: River
Water quality: Transparent
Current (summer): Light to Moderate
Depth: Deep and shallow
Beach: Sand and river rocks
Water T° (summer): Cool


From Salem,

  • Drive approximately 24 miles east on State Highway 22 to N Fork Road/Little North Fork
  • Turn left onto North Fork County Road
  • Continue 8.5 miles to your destination on the left.

Phone: 503-897-2406

GPS: N 44°48.024' W 122°27.270' | 44.8004, -122.4545

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