Bureau of Land Management National Park Service U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Forest Service

Elkhorn Creek, Oregon

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Managing Agency:

Bureau of Land Management, Northwest Oregon District
U.S. Forest Service, Willamette National Forest

Designated Reach:

September 30, 1996. This wild and scenic river consists of a 5.8 mile wild river area, extending from a point along the Willamette National Forest to its confluence with Buck Creek. A smaller segment of 0.6 miles, designated as a scenic river area, extends from the confluence of Buck Creek to that point where the segment leaves the Bureau of Land Management boundary in Township 9.


Wild — 5.8 miles; Scenic — 0.6 miles; Total — 6.4 miles.

Elkhorn Creek


Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area (U.S. Forest Service)

Photo Credit: Zachary Collier, Northwest Rafting Company

Elkhorn Creek

Elkhorn Creek is a unique, pristine, low-elevation setting, with limited access, providing a landscape with few signs of human disturbance or activity. It flows through the heavily forested and rugged foothills of the west side of the Cascade Range and within the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area, which is known for its majestic old-growth forests. The 'wild' section flows from a point along the Willamette National Forest to 0.6 mile downstream of its confluence with Buck Creek.

Outstandingly Remarkable Values

Fisheries & Wildlife

Healthy populations of native cutthroat and rainbow trout reside in Elkhorn Creek.

Elkhorn Creek is within the expected range of the Oregon slender salamander, the only amphibian endemic to Oregon. It is listed by the state as a Species of Concern. It is most common in mature Douglas fir forests and apparently dependent on mature and old-growth stands. The salamander is found under rocks, wood, wood chips at the base of stumps and under the bark and moss of logs. They are also found in decomposing logs.

A number of bat species of concern are suspected to occur in the corridor. These species are associated with caves and mines, bridges, buildings, cliff habitat, or decadent live trees and large snags with sloughing bark.

A number of migratory birds which are associated with late successional forest are expected to breed in the area.


This picturesque stream flows through prominent bedrock landforms, views of occasional rock outcroppings and talus slopes interspersed with old-growth and second growth forests. Conifers dominate the forest, along with western red cedar and red alder. Throughout much of the designated reach, little evidence of human intrusion into the river corridor is present until the lower 0.6-mile segment.