School Programs

“I just had an awesome weekend here.  I learned more about our Northwest forest ecosystem, and had a great time doing it.  Opal Creek means a lot to me, because it’s doing work to educate people, and by extension preserve this place I love.” — Madison High School student, 2013

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center’s Jawbone Flats campus hosts overnight education programs from April through October.  At Opal Creek you will find:

Custom curricula – we work with you to customize each program to best suit the educational focus of your group.

Professionalism – our on-site instructors are college graduates with degrees in the natural sciences or in education.  All are Wilderness First Responders and undergo extensive training in outdoor teaching methods and safety procedures.

Laboratory classroom – our solar-powered Commissary provides space for your students to take field investigations to the next level.  Students will use the Commissary to identify plants, examine mosses and lichen under microscopes, and more.

Natural history – our curriculum options include Ancient Forest Ecology, Stream Ecology, including watersheds and water quality, Northwest Geology, and Wildlife Ecology.

Cultural history – Opal Creek’s unique mining and conservation history serves as an ideal backdrop to discuss Oregon’s cultural history.

A typical stay begins with a three-mile interpretive hike along the Opal Creek trail into Jawbone Flats.  Upon arrival, students are introduced to our off-the-grid educational community, use the concepts discussed on their hike in a campwide scavenger hunt, and engage in evening programs after dinner. View a sample itinerary here.

Our one-night programs offer a comprehensive introduction to old-growth forest ecology.  Our multi-night programs offer your choice of full-day field studies, combined with classroom lab time. All programs run from noon to noon.

Hearty, healthy vegetarian meals are prepared by our renowned kitchen staff with each overnight stay. Even the pickiest kids love Jawbone food!

“When Mrs. Carlson’s students returned, they wanted to redo their state science test–they felt they understood things better after this experience!”
–Kylie, instructional coordinator, Boones Ferry Primary School



We operate under a sliding scale tuition model to ensure that students of all backgrounds are able to experience outdoor school in the Opal Creek Wilderness. Tuition subsidies are sponsored by our generous supporters. Tuition fees include instruction, lodging, and meals beginning with dinner on the first day and culminating with lunch on the final day. Schools whose free-and-reduced lunch data is not publicly available will be asked to submit documentation.


Student cost (per night) Chaperone cost (per night) Teacher cost (per night)
Grade school, 0-25% free and reduced lunch $80 $85 1 teacher per class at no charge
Grade school, 26-50% free and reduced lunch $65 $70 1 teacher per class at no charge
Grade school, 51-100% free and reduced lunch $55 $65 1 teacher per class at no charge
University and adult groups $85 $85 1 leader per class at no charge


To book please contact our registrar Janelle at (503) 892-2782 or Please be aware that upon booking a field trip to Opal Creek, you are agreeing to our reservation policies, available here.

Please note that our site is not ADA-accredited.  Students with limited mobility will need extra assistance to make their way around Jawbone Flats.

“The entire staff was amazing–they all went out of their way to make everyone feel special. They were sunshine in the rain.”
–John, chaperone, Paisley Distance Learning Program

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