Santiam State Forest – Abiqua Falls (#19 )

ABIQUA FALLS
Click on the picture to make it bigger!
October 23, 2011

Info:  (http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com/nws/falls.php?num=4437) Abiqua Falls is a near-perfect free-falling waterfall of 92 feet in height set amid a spectacular basaltic amphitheater, framed by some of the best examples of columnar jointing that can be found in western Oregon. That the bedrock is basaltic has allowed various shades of moss and lichen to flourish in the canyon – with one section of the walls stained a bright orangeish-red by the growth in a similarly unique fashion as Latourell Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. The falls were the site of what was at one point thought to be a world record for the tallest waterfall run in a kayak. The kayakers who established the feat measured the falls at 101 feet tall, which differs from the measurement taken when reviewed for this database by 9 feet (though this is probably within an acceptable margin of error given the methods used, but it did not look like 100 feet to my eye). Abiqua Falls lies on land owned by the Mount Angel Abbey (rather than the surrounding Silver Falls Tree Farm as initially believed), who have graciously allowed public access to the falls. Between April and July of 2010 they had posted the land because of concerns about liability but as of the beginning of July 2010, they have once again opened the falls to access. Please remember to be a courteous and conscious visitor if you seek out this magnificent waterfall – pack out whatever you bring with you and behave as you would in a guest’s home. We are privileged to have access to this waterfall and we should be grateful for the Abbey for being so willing to go to the lengths they saw necessary to continue to allow the public to visit.
Directions:
From the town of Scotts Mills, follow Crooked Finger Road for 10 3/4 miles (1.25 miles past the end of the pavement) and turn right on an unmarked road at a sign for an ORV area. Follow this road downhill, ignoring all spurs, for 2.25 miles to the end of the road at a gate and park. The road down is rough and steep in places and is not well suited to low clearance vehicles. From the end of the road, walk 100 feet back along the road to the trail which leads steeply downhill to the creek and falls in about 1/2 mile. The trail can be slick and muddy when its been raining so exercise caution when hiking downhill.
Latitude 44.92611 N
Longitude -122.56778 W
Elevation 1200 feet
Jenn’s View:  I would NEVER take my Honda Accord on this road. Glad we had Joyce’s SUV to get us through the stretch that would have killed my car. BUT I did see someone come down with a Subaru Outback type of car when we got back from this hike.
Great hike and short.  To get to the falls, it was less than a mile. The bad part is that its very steep.  Going down takes longer because the mud and rocks were quite slippery. Joyce and I fell and slipped a few times. 🙂 The climb back up was a breather but it always is if you don’t exercise on a daily basis, like I haven’t been. OOPS…did I just say that?  Saw a little girl on the trail going back to the car. Hey, if she can do it, so can a family.  Just exercise a lot of caution.  When I say it’s slippery, it’s slippery!
We found the gate to the trail and we actually started traveling ON that road past the gate.  Thank goodness I had the webpage on my phone and realized we were to park there and then walk back from where we drove and find the trail.  It looked like it was gonna rain on us but it didn’t. Thank goodness.
We found the first trail head and you are to pass that one and go on to the second trail.  You will recognize the trail with the sign that states that this is private property but has been given access for public use. Thank goodness for the Abbey Society of Oregon.  Is that a place for nuns???? If so, Thank you NUNS!  The climb down was pretty steep to begin with. When you climb down, take the trail to the right. Shortly, you will hear the creek.
Not really sure what Kaila was telling us but she looked pretty excited about it. ha ha
Why does my butt look so big??? Sheez! I really don’t have a butt so that is pretty amazing camera!
Don’t ask!
The sign that states the private property thingy. Too bad the flash went off or maybe we would have been able to read the darn thing!
The forest is pretty dense but the trail head is somewhat maintained and easy to see.  It was straight down hill so KNOWING that the climb back up was gonna get our hearts pumping!
 We reached the creek but in order to get down there, you had to follow the path straight down.  Pretty steep and looked like someone put a rope to climb down.  Pretty easy…I didn’t do the rope thing because I found a different path. Go figure. But Joyce and Makaila did it.
While taking this picture, I think Joyce fell…just standing there.
She would do excellent rock climbing!
After rope climbing down, you get to the creek! If you are facing the creek, follow it to the left (up stream)
Makaila went ahead of us and all I can hear is “MOOOOM! So pretty! Oh MOOOOOM!”
The rock wall is sooooo amazing.  I guess it’s basalt? Just absolutely beautiful! Great place to swim on a hot summer day! Makaila plans to bring her friends here some day and just have fun! We took some silly pictures too!

Overall, an absolute beautiful fall and short hike to get to.

So, while I was looking for local areas to hike and found this one, Bing showed me a picture that absolutely amazed me and made me want to do this hike.  I picked up the picture from here: http://pixdaus.com/pics/1264899655LQaejK9.jpg

Isn’t this just amazing?

Check out my May 2011 blog on Lower and Upper Butte Creek Falls.  This is less than a couple of miles down the road from this fall.  Great to see 3 falls in one day!!!

Here is a 360 video of the fall:

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One thought on “Santiam State Forest – Abiqua Falls (#19 )

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