Three Pools | Opal Creek Wilderness – Cascades

Three Pools

Swimming Holes Rating

Three Pools

Three Pools

Three Pools

Three Pools

The really amazing destination on this list of summer water fun is Three Pools along the Little North Santiam River, known for the excellent swimming and cliff jumping (up to 16 feet/ 5 m in height) opportunities. This trifecta of aquamarine pools along a beautiful pebbled beach perfect for hours of laying on your towel soaking up the summer sun create an offering worthy of the gods.

For all of you adventure seekers, in addition to the phenomenal jumping prospects, further upstream two stunningly clear pools squeeze in to form a natural water slide. Of course as with any location so striking, large crowds are to be expected; however, the area is large enough for everyone to get their own little space, and quite honestly, it is quite a small price to pay for its spectacular beauty.

When parking is full, no entry into the Three Pools area. Vehicles cannot park along the Forest Road 2207 within 1/2 mile.

Cautions: Cliff jumping and slippery rocks are associated with risks, please use caution and make safe decisions.


General Description

Access allowed: All year from dawn until dusk
Walking distance: Short
Day-use fees: Yes

  • Northwest Forest Pass - Annual/Day Pass
  • Golden Age/Access Pass
  • Interagency Senior/Access/Military Pass.

Dogs: Must be on a leash
Usage: Heavy

Restrictions: No glass bottles; No parking along FR 2207 within 1/2 mile
Accommodations: Shady Cove Campground - 1.1 miles
Location: Willamette National Forest
County: Marion
Managed: USDA Forest Service

Three Pools is located:

  • 42 miles east of Salem
  • 88 miles southeast of Portland
  • 90 miles northeast of Eugene.

Elevation: 1,600 ft (488 m)

GPS: 44.8405, -122.314


Body of water: River
Water quality: Transparent
Current: Moderate
Depth: Deep
Beach: River rocks and cliffs
Water T° (summer): Cool


Cliff jumping


Vault toilets
No water
No cell service
Garbage service
Picnic sites

Three Pools

Three Pools

Three Pools

Three Pools

Directions to Three Pools

From Salem, follow east on State Highway 22 to Mehama.

At milepost 23, turn left onto North Fork Road and drive for 15.3 miles to the Forest Boundary. Continue of gravel, FS Road 2209 for next 1.3 miles to the intersection of FS Road 2207. Turn right and follow another 0.8 miles to Three Pools Day Use Area.

Oregon's Swimming Holes

A guide to Oregon's natural swimming places throughout the state. Included are regional maps and data on water temperature, depth and flow, nearby campgrounds, and a rating of each "hole."

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