For all the nature lovers and those looking for a place to cool down, the beautiful Little North Fork of the Santiam River with emerald crystal-clear waters is a top destination on hot summer days. The Little North Fork begins in the Opal Creek Wilderness of the Cascade Range and flows through the Willamette National Forest to meet the North Santiam River near Mehama. The North Fork Park is one of a numerous excellent swimming spots along the Little North Fork just off North Fork Road. A short distance from Salem makes this river extremely popular among residents of the Salem Metropolitan area.
The North Fork Park is the first park land purchased by Marion County. Located along the river bank, the 11.98-acre area has a great swimming hole with a broad sandy and pebble beach, wide rock ledges, and picnic sites. The large swimming pool forms where the river bends, current is slower, and water is warming up faster. Due to the North Fork Park popularity, typically, this destination is crowded on summer weekends.
Nice rapids feeding the swimming hole can be used for a natural water slide. Some people use the rapids for legs and back massage. Rock jumping from the bedrock and rocks is available as well.
The other side of the river bend is a private property. Respect land ownership and stay out.
North Fork County Park has picnic tables, hiking trails, and a vault toilet on the parking lot. Fishing for rainbow and cutthroat trout is available (catch and release only).
North Fork Park | General Description
Open: May 1st - October 31 from 6am to 10 pm
Managed: Marion County
Location: Little North Fork Recreation Area
Services: Vault toilets, no water, garbage service, picnic sites
Activities: Swimming, hiking, fishing, rock jumping, water sliding
Accommodations: Elkhorn Valley Campsite, Bear Creek Campground
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: Yes
Dogs: Must be on a leash
Elevation: 720 ft (219 m)
North Fork Park is located:
- 4 miles northeast of Lyons
- 27 miles east of Salem
- 73 miles southeast of Portland
- 75 miles northeast of Eugene.
Directions to North Fork County Park
- Drive approximately 24 miles east on State Highway 22 to North Fork Road/Little North Fork
- Turn left onto North Fork Road and continue for about 2.1 miles to the destination on the right.
Address: North Fork County Park, Lyons, OR 97358