Tucked away in central Oregon along back logging roads are the unmarked and unmaintained trails to this hidden waterfall.
Getting to Abiqua Falls
One of the tougher parts of exploring these falls are the roads and parking situation. There is little information online and nothing official by state or national websites because the land is on private property (owner allows guest to use).
The first step to getting to the falls is getting to the Abiqua Road. This is an unmarked and unnammed gravel road with several parking areas depending on your cars all terrain and 4WD capabilities.
When turning off of Crooked Finger RD NE you'll see the first parking lot dug into the side of the hill on your right as you make the bend around.
Do not park here if you are going to the falls.
Go past this parking lot descending down the gravel road for about three-quarters of a mile and you'll get to a larger parking area on your right with a gravel pile. This is where you should park. It's called the Crooked Finger OHV Area on the AllTrails Map.
If you are truly adventurous there are a couple additional pullover parking spaces in the next quarter mile before hitting some impassible 4WD features in the road.
From the parking lot you will have to walk about a mile each way on the gravel road to get to the trailhead for the falls.
You have additional options with a 4WD vehicle but if you have something with low ground clearance like a Subaru you probably want to consider parking at the 2WD parking lot.
If you have high ground clearance and comfortable navigating tough roads you can probably get all the way down to the trailhead where the AllTrails Map starts the route.
The Routes to The Falls
There are about three different trails you can take to get around the falls. The first two are different routes to the bottom of the falls, the third is a secret unmarked trail that gets you to the top of the falls and some interesting pools.
This is the preferred route to getting to the base of the falls and while not easy, it's much less of a headache than the second route.
This route is precisely the route that AllTrails follows on the map. The important thing to note is when at the trailhead, head left more into the woods instead of straight into the clearing.
You'll walk in a somewhat parallel fashion to the road that you came in on before hitting a steep descent with ropes and downed logs. Follow this path to get to Abiqua Creek and stay on this side of the creek until you reach the clearing with the falls.
I took this route down to the falls and came up on Route #1 because I didn't know any better. This route uses ropes as well but on a much steeper and dustier hill with rocks sliding down making it tough to get good footing. It's also a longer hill and puts you further back on Abiqua Creek.
Avoid if possible but if you end up taking this route try and stay on this side of the creek, it'll look like the trail crosses but once you link up to the Route #1 path it'll be easy to navigate to the falls.
This is the route to the top of the falls that a local tipped me off to. It's mostly unknown and unseen by visitors of the falls but offers a ridiculous vantage point.
I typically hate the top of a waterfall but I think this is a cool place to hit on your way to or from the falls.
I highlighted where this trail is located on the AllTrails map screenshot below. It's barely noticeable and heads into the woods and again parallels below the road for a bit. Don't take the side trails that shoot off of this trail as they won't lead anywhere.
Staying on the main path you'll be required to hop a number of fallen logs before getting to a steep cliff with ropes to assist. Climb down the two sets of these and you'll arrive and the top of the falls and the secret pools.
Exploring The Falls
The falls are some of the best in Oregon and have a local vibe rather than the tourist vibe you might get on the main waterfall circuit in the Columbia River Gorge or the national parks.
I thought this was cool to see and makes for a relaxing afternoon down at the falls. I went midday on a Saturday and there were people hanging around, drinking by the falls, shooting guns in the parking lot, the typical central Oregon shenanigans.
I wouldn't expect this to receive much of a crowd outside of peak times making it a great secluded spot.
The waterfall is seasonal with it's flow effected heavily by drought conditions. It's tough looking at some pictures and seeing the strong flow compared to the trickle in relation that I experienced.
See an insane video of kayakers going over the falls here!
Still magnificent in the drought but know before you go it could be much less green, and much less water than what you see in some pictures.
The best time to visit would be mid-spring for a heavy flow and lush greenery.
Abiqua Falls Trail:
Distance: .7 Miles (Add 2 miles for 2WD parking)
Type: Out & Back
Ascent: 249 feet
Have any questions - drop me a comment and I'll be happy to try and help!
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