Jawbone Flats (Summer)

Directions: Drive I-5 South to exit 253. Take a left and get onto Highway 22 and drive for a little over 22 miles until you come to a blinking light intersection, go left onto North Fork Road. Drive about 15.5 miles and the road will turn from pavement to gravel (note: there is a short gravel section earlier but it quickly returns to pavement). The gravel road now become FR 2209 and you enter the Opal Creek Wilderness. Continue for a little over 5.5 miles (keep left at a split in the road) where the road ends at the trailhead.

The entire trail is a old Jeep road so it’s relatively smooth but dusty. This hike is packed full of things to do and see. About half a mile past the first bridge, on your left is an old mine shaft and not too far past that on your right, just off trail is lots of old mining equipment. Not long after you’ll come to an old shack. Follow the trail behind it and to the right (no signage) down to Sawmill Falls. There’s a little bit of a rock scramble to get down to the water’s edge.

DSC_0008   DSC_0030


DSC_0041   DSC_0054

Between the shack and Jawbone Flats you will come across a small waterfall with a rock water slide with an area of calm water that’s good for swimming. There are also a few viewpoints and lots of Huckleberries along the way. Opal Creek Trail meets up with the Jeep road along this stretch. You can take Opal Creek Trail to Opal Pool and then Jawbone Flats, instead of just staying on the Jeep road and going to Jawbone Flats first.

DSC_0145   DSC_0163

Jawbone Flats is an old mining town that was built between 1927 and 1932. There are currently only 9 permanent residents and it is also an interpretive center. The trail takes you right down the middle of the town and you pass by cabins (some of witch you can rent) and a small store. You continue on, across Battle Axe Creek, and follow the road to the right. You’ll pass old trucks and more equipment. On the left there is a picnic shelter and on the right is a composting toilet (little advice: you’ll need good aim and a strong stomach for this toilet).

DSC_0066   DSC_0067

DSC_0070   DSC_0083

About a half mile past the picnic tables you will come to Opal Pool. Take the side trail down a few feet to the bridge where there are many options to hang out and cool off.

DSC_0101   DSC_0119


Head back out the way you came in.

Distance: 7 miles

Elevation: 380 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All but may be closed if there is snow.

Popular: Yes

Overall: There is so much to see on this hike, it’s one of our all time favorites.

4 thoughts on “Jawbone Flats (Summer)

  1. Janine Fowler

    These posts make me wish that Donny was into hiking! I never used to be a fan but it seems so romantic! The only time we get into nature is our annual camping trip and that’s with 80 other families so it’s fun but not very intimate.

    I’d love to see some more personal posts – Maybe just a ‘photo dump’ style post with pictures of you guys every now and then.

  2. Greg

    Just found this blog, what a great idea. Was that dirt road, NF2209, well maintained to your recollection? I broke my cityperson’s car adventuring one time.

    1. Hikelandia Post author

      The road isn’t paved but it’s in pretty good condition. We were in a Honda and did just fine 🙂

  3. Pingback: Jawbone Flats (Revisit)- 7 Miles | Hikelandia

Leave a Reply