From Salem, Oregon, travel east on State Highway 22 to Mehama. At milepost 23, turn left (north) onto Little North Fork Road (next to the Oregon Department of Forestry building) and proceed for 15.3 miles to the Forest Boundary. Continue of gravel, FS Road 2209 for 1.3 miles to the intersection of FS Road 2207. Turn right and continue another 0.8 miles to Three Pools Day Use Area on the right
Three Pools Day Use Area on the North Fork of the Santiam River is an extremely popular destination, attracting over 15,000 visitors each year. Accessible via a short walk from parking area (fee or recreation pass required), spectacular emerald pools and several picnic sites make this one of the most visited swimming locations in Oregon. Expect to see some large crowds here on a sunny day.
Special regulations are in place to help protect this area and preserve the experience for you and for future visitors. Please practice Leave No Trace Principles during your visit. Garbage service is not provided so please pack-it-in pack-it-out. Alcohol is prohibited and the use of marijuana on federal lands is illegal.
The trailhead can be very crowded, especially on summer weekends. Carpool if possible. Park only in designated spots. Tightly packed cars and resulting congestion can prevent emergency vehicle access. If the parking lot reaches capacity it may be unable to accommodate you.
- Jumping from cliffs can be dangerous due to shallow water, submerged rocks, trees, or other hazards.
- Always supervise children closely. Do not read, play cards, talk on the phone, or engage in any other distracting activity while watching children in or around water.
- Rocks along the water’s edge may be slippery when wet or dry.
- If you choose to cross a stream by going through it, study the area first. Avoid deep and/or swift water.
- When crossing on a natural bridge of rocks or logs, consider where you will land if you fall. Never cross above rapids or falls.
- If you fall into fast-moving water, do not try to stand up. The force of the water will push you over and hold you under. Most drownings result from getting a leg or ankle caught in an underwater rock ledge, between boulders or snagged in tree limbs or other debris. Lay on your back with your feet pointing downstream and toes pointing up toward the surface. Always look downstream and be prepared to fend off rocks with your feet.