Shady Cove Campground is located in the Opal Creek Wilderness about an hour east of Salem. The campground is small with only 13 first come, first serve campsites and it fills up very quickly during peak season and warm weekends. The individual sites sit nicely along the edge of the Little North Santiam river which offers beautifully clear water and an excellent spot to cool off. The campground in general is well shaded and most of the sites and private due to the thick trees that separates them.
The downsides to this campground are how quickly it fills up and its proximity to an incredible dusty dirt road. When the campground does fill up there are no other campsites within reasonable distance so most campers make their way further up the road and make primitive camp down a steep hillside next to the creek.
The Opal Creek Wilderness offers plenty to do from exploring the old mining town of Jawbone Flats to cooling off in one of the many crystal clear pools found on the river. About two miles up the road from Shady Cove you can find a nice waterfall right off the road called Sullivan Falls. It is definitely worth the quick drive to check out.
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