This year, we’ve made it a goal to check out a minimum of 10 new places to hike or camp. After moving back to the Pacific Northwest, we were starving for good hiking close to home, so we made a list, closed our eyes and picked one. For each one, we’re packing up the kids – aged 18, 16, 4, and infant – and reviewing afterwards.
Our first adventure is Henline Falls, in Marion County, Oregon.
This trail is in the Opal Creek Wilderness in Marion County, Oregon. This 2-mile round trip trail is an in-and-out trail with Henline Falls being the main attraction. The hike is an easy walk through forest canopy for most of the way through, but becomes narrow, slick, and rocky toward the falls. It didn’t deter the preschooler, however, so I’m going to say it’s an easy-to-moderate trail that only gains 200 feet of elevation.
The pool at the base of the waterfall is cold, but it’s a nice refresher and a great resting area. There are remnants of an old mining operation, including a gated off tunnel, but it’s definitely not an attraction I previously read about. You access the tunnel opening by scrambling up a boulder. There isn’t a real trail up to it, but it’s right at the waterfall. This part of the trail is great for older kids to adults, but not so great for the littles. I didn’t go up, either, as I wear the baby on hikes.
From Salem, take OR 22 E to N Fork Road. Take that for 17 miles until the unimproved road splits. Stay to the left for NF-2207/NF-2209 and the Henline Falls trailhead is on your left.
Parking is only available at the trailhead and you will need a free self-issued wilderness permit, which is conveniently available at trailhead.
General Review: Would we do it again?
Absolutely. Every one of us liked this trail, though it is definitely not a challenge. There is apparently an offshoot trail that is more difficult and allows backpacking, so we’ll probably take that in the next year.