With its semi-hidden location, Abiqua Falls has earned its name as a hidden gem. Year-round, visitors come here to experience the best mother nature has to offer. They find solace in the sounds of the falls, and a connectedness to their being, through yoga, meditation, reading, and simply relaxing.
Amongst all the waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest, Abiqua Falls stands out. For one, unlike most waterfalls, you must hike down to the falls rather than a hike up. For another, the falls are surrounded by towering rock formations unlike any other. But, most of all, the sheer height of the waterfall is astounding. And once you’re next to it, you feel oh so small in comparison.
Are you sold yet? Before you go, we have put together the following guide on everything you need to know to plan your adventure.
What Is Abiqua Falls?
Draped over a spectacular basaltic bedrock is Abiqua Falls, a 92 feet free-falling waterfall that has attracted hikers to admire its natural wonder year-round.
From some distance, Abiqua Falls is mesmerizing, calming, and almost spellbinding. Up close, after you have traversed through the body of water and get up to the basaltic wall, you can see the different colors that gleam in the light.
One section of the basaltic wall glows an orange-reddish color, some sections a dark mossy green, and others a blend of both. The columnar wall looms over the body of water and spreads out like a natural amphitheater.
Where Is Abiqua Falls?
The falls are located at the following coordinates: 44.92611, -122.56778
Abiqua Falls is nearest to the town of Scotts Mills, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive south of Portland, Oregon, or a distance of 55 miles. To get to Abiqua Falls from Scotts Mills, take Crooked Finger Road for 10.75 miles until you reach a sign for an ORV area. Make a right turn at that sign, which will lead you down an unmarked road for 2.25 miles to a gate and parking area.
The road is rough and is best suited for high-clearance vehicles. After parking, be sure to take all valuables with you. From here, backtrack along the road on foot for about 100 feet to a trail that will lead you down to Abiqua Creek. Although there are ropes for support, the trail can be steep for less experienced hikers. It’s best to practice caution when hiking downhill, especially during the wet seasons.
We should also note that Abiqua Falls sits on land owned privately by the Mount Angel Abbey. Because of that, visitors should take extra care not to disturb the land. Always pack out what you pack in. Visitors should all respect the privilege of being able to access this wonderful waterfall.
Planning Your Adventure
Leave Your Kids at Home
The hike to Abiqua Falls is filled with downhill trotting on a steep slope, sometimes even through or over thick forestry bush. Because of that, it is best to leave your children at home. Even for experienced hikers, the slope down to the creek can be a chore to navigate. The slope can also be very wet and muddy from the rain, which can make the hike-down even more dangerous.
When climbing back up the slope, hikers may need to get on all fours to pull themselves up. Children may not have the upper-body strength to do so. As recent as March 2017, hikers have been reported to have fallen down the slope here. For the safest way down, check out this topographic map of the area.
Sorry kiddos, you’ll have to skip this one. But, if you are looking for a more family-friendly waterfall where the whole family can enjoy, check out Silver Falls State Park nearby. There are seven different waterfalls along a loop trail.
Leave Your Dog at Home
As we explained earlier, the hike to Abiqua Falls could be thorny, literally. This hike may not be safe for your furry friend. They could get scared and become unwilling to climb down, or worse, they can slip and fall. The trip back up can be equally tasking.
And we don’t like to think about it, but taking our dogs on such as steep hike can put ourselves in danger, too. We could try to save our best friend and put ourselves in harm’s way.
Bring a Raincoat
We recommend bringing a raincoat if you plan to get close to the waterfall. Your raincoat can also come in handy when it unexpectedly rains as it often happens during the rainy seasons of October through December.
Choose the Right Hiking Shoes
- We've carefully selected leather uppers designed to last. Then again, if you're wearing your KEENs daily, they won't always be scuff and dirt-free. To treat day to day wear and tear, especially on lighter color leathers, we recommend using a leather cleaner and conditioner, found at most footwear dealers and/or shoe repair shops.
- Easy-on heel pull and Torsion stability ESS shank
- Padded tongue and collar
- Lugged outsole. Contoured heel lock
- Fit tip-it is running a half size small. Recommend ordering a half size larger than usual size
Choosing the right hiking shoes is essential for any hikes. Abiqua Falls is no exception. In dry weather, such as during the summer, the hike can be rocky and filled with loose gravel. In this case, choose hiking shoes that are high in traction with a durable outsole. In the wet seasons, such as in during the fall, the hike can be extremely muddy. In such a case, it’s best to wear high-gripping hiking shoes that are preferably waterproof.
If you have gaiters—you know, the cover that goes around your ankle to prevent rocks and debris from entering your shoes—use them. When making your way down the steep slope, loose rocks can easily get inside your shoes, and they often do. Hiking boots work, too.
Bring a Map
When you are driving down Crooked Finger Road—the road that leads you to the turnoff point of the parking area, you will come across multiple unmarked dirt roads. And, depending on your cell service provider, you may not be able to use your GPS. Having a map handy could help track where you are and help locate the turnoff road to the parking area.
In addition, many hikers also have a hard time finding the trailhead. That is because it is technically not a marked trailhead with a clear signage pointing the way to Abiqua Falls. Because of this, bring a map with you in case you get lost.
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The hike to Abiqua Falls can get dirty, fast. For some portions, you’ll have no choice but to climb on all fours. In muddy conditions, your hands can quickly become covered in wet earth. The forestry growth, too, can be thorny, so you definitely don’t want your hands to get poked.
Wearing a pair of gloves can protect your hands from becoming muddy and getting poked. They can also act as an additional layer of traction, which can be useful during climbs.
Bring a Yoga Mat
- FITNESS & EXERCISE MAT: Classic yoga mat is great for all types of fitness and exercise routines including yoga, pilates and any floor exercise where additional cushion and support is appreciated
- EXTRA THICK YOGA MAT: These 2/5 inch exercise mats make for the ideal all purpose fitness mat in the studio or at home, even around the house under knees or as a standing pad or cushion
- NON TOXIC & 6P FREE PVC yoga mat is a healthier choice for you and the planet and free of DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP and DNOP
- INCLUDES YOGA MAT CARRIER STRAP: Included with your yoga mat is a carrying strap so you can strap up your mat and go
- DIMENSIONS: 72 inches L x 24 inches W x 2/5 Inch (3.11 pounds)
Even before you make it down to Abiqua Creek, you can hear the roaring sounds of Abiqua Falls flowing in the distance. As you get closer, the sound gets louder, but ever so inviting.
On a sunny day, you can find many visitors here meditating or doing yoga on the falls’ rock-bed. Against the backdrop of the waterfall, your worries can flow away and a new energy restored. On your next trip to the falls, why not experience it for yourself? The only thing you have to lose is a deep sigh.
Bring a Book
After you have made your way down to Abiqua Falls, you are going to want to stay awhile. Bring a book, find a comfy spot, and let everything nature has to offer wash over you. There is seriously no better place to read a book than here. Just be careful not to get your book wet.
Bring a Camera
- 2 Inch touch screen quickly switch between modes, frame The perfect shot and check out your footage on the 2 inch touch screen
- Waterproof + durable built tough and waterproof down to 33 feet (10 meter), Hero goes where your smartphone can't to capture every adventure with no worries
- Voice control control your hero hands free with simple voice commands like “GoPro, Start recording” and “GoPro, take a photo ”
- Wi fi + Bluetooth connect to the GoPro app to control your camera remotely, check out your shots and share your favorite on the spot
- Auto offload to your phone when connected to the GoPro app Your footage Moves to the GoPro app which creates fun, Sharable videos for you automatically.Built in Battery (1220mAH lithium ion)
Abiqua Falls is nature’s amphitheater. Its iconic formation of columnar bedrocks that surrounds the near 100-feet free-falling waterfall is worth its weight in gold, or pictures. So, you’ll want to bring a good camera capable of capturing panoramas.
Besides the waterfall, you’ll also want to take pictures of the fern-covered Abiqua Creek, and the beautiful purple wildflowers that grow near it.
Here’s a quick tip: the best time to take pictures of the falls is during mid-day when there is less harsh lighting coming from the north.
Bring Ice Skates in the Winter
- Features. Warm woven lining and deluxe comfort padding. Stainless-steel blade.
- Waterproof sole. Locking buckle and power strap. Boys ice skate have a kid-friendly fit system.
- Expand skates up to 4 full sizes. Kids can wear them again and again even as they grows. Insulated soft-tec foam.
- Reinforced ankle support. Lake Placid ice skates come in small, medium and large. Made in China.
- Model Number: LP104B.
In the winter, Abiqua Falls freeze over and the body of water underneath it turns into an ice rink. If you are planning on visiting in the winter, bring a pair of ice skates to enjoy outdoor ice skating. It really can’t get any better than that, can it?
The first thing you’ll notice about Abiqua Falls is its obscurity; there are no marked signs to guide you to your destination. The second thing you’ll notice about the falls is that it is inconveniently tucked away beneath a hill, which you must get down and dirty to get yourself to the bottom. The third, or the most important, thing you’ll notice is that all that work of finding the trailhead, getting down the slope, was all well worth it in the end.
As one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest, Abiqua Falls is sure to make a mark. So what are you waiting for? Use this guide to help you plan your amazing adventure to Abiqua Falls.