Opal Creek Expeditions



There is nothing like spending a week backpacking in the wilderness.

Jawbone Flats is the perfect base camp for outdoor adventure. Our unique expeditions combine backpacking skills with field science, giving your child hands-on experience ranging from camp cooking to sediment testing. Each trip approaches the watershed from a different ecological focus and maintains a strong emphasis on backcountry travel.

We are proud to partner with the experienced and certified guides of eNRG Kayaking to offer rafting trips on  the Santiam River on the last day of both our River Deep, Mountain High and Ridgelines and Waterways expeditions.

We are excited to roll out in 2016 a new basecamp program for 10-12 year olds! The Jawbone Flats Basecamp is a weeklong wilderness experience, all from the comfort of Jawbone Flats.

» Click here for full descriptions of our 2016 Opal Creek Expeditions offerings!
» Click here to go straight to our Opal Creek Expeditions registration page!

All Opal Creek Expeditions follow Leave No Trace principles and maintain a staff-to-camper ratio of 1:5. Our instructors are all WFR-certified and trained extensively to be prepared for any backcountry medical emergencies.

Opal Creek provides some group gear for Expeditions. A complete gear list will be sent upon registration. If there are items you do not own consider renting equipment from local retailers.

“This camp exceeded our expectations in every way – and we expected it to be great! Staff was conscientious and considerate at the outset, the trip leaders were phenomenal – engaging, friendly, knowledgeable and trustworthy. The program was just right – challenging without being overwhelming. It was everything we hoped for and more.”
-2014 Back to Basics parent


Orientation Meetings

Each spring we will host two orientation meetings for parents and backpackers to meet with our program director.  We strongly encourage everyone interested in an Opal Creek Expedition to attend one of these meetings, especially first-time backpackers.  We will discuss proper gear and backpack sizing; review the camp itineraries and hiking routes; and address any questions or concerns you may have.

The orientation meetings will be held in the Alder Room of the Ecotrust Building at 721 NW 9th Ave. in Portland’s Pearl District.

  • Monday, May 2, 2016, at 6 PM
  • Wednesday, June 1, 2016, at 6 PM

Please call the Portland office at 503-892-2782 with any questions about these meetings.


Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center operates under a special use permit with the Mt. Hood and Willamette National Forests.

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  1. […] Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center Overnight camps at Jawbone Flats in the Willamette National Forest with an ecological focus and strong emphasis on backcountry travel. Grades served: fifth through twelfth Online: http://www.opalcreek.org/opal-creek-expeditions […]

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