Abiqua Falls - Where the Fairies Live.
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
I am a sucker for waterfalls, particularly ones that you can swim in. If you haven't have the opportunity to do so, just do it!
Now, this falls is not for everyone. The trip down is not long, but it is an adventure to say the least. Now, please read carefully, if not, you will end up in some peach farm in the middle of bum**** Oregon or along a dirt road with no cell service - I am only saying both of these from personal experience. Now, do not put Abiqua Falls into google maps, like I said before, you will end up in a peach farm - which is great, but not for swimming with fairies.
Before going on this adventure, make sure you have a high clearance car that can handle some pretty rough back roads and rocks. The fist time I went, again I did not read this direction and my hike turned into 10 miles since we had to park the car on the side of the road before proceeding. Again, this is not for everyone. Make sure you pack water, good shoes - I wore Teva or Chacos so they could get wet, snacks, bathing suit/change of clothes and a towel.
Now for the directions, read closely: I recommend taking a screen shot of the directions to have for when you lose cell service. Use a GPS to get you to the town of Scotts Mills, OR. From there you'll want to turn south on Crooked Finger road, you'll know why it's called that soon. You'll go about 9.5 miles down that road (I recommend using your mile tracker), the pavement will end and you'll want to keep going. At this point you will probably loose cell service, and that's ok. Once the dirt road starts you'll drive another 1.4 miles until you come to a dirt road on the right that is marked with some writing on a piece of wood on a tree - it reads CF 300. After you're on CF 300 drive straight at every junction until you get to a parking area about 2.5 miles downhill. The road is pretty rough and you'll think you're going the wrong way, but keep going! Directions can be confusing, but simply drive down to the first gate (there is a second gate farther down, but that's too far). The trail is to the left just before the first gate, it is clearly visible. You'll know you're at the end when you reach a locked gate.
This trail is unmarked and a little rough and rugged. The land is privately owned by Mount Angel Abbey, but they don't appear to have problems with hikers. Walking out of the parking area back up the road in the direction you came from, you’ll pass one dirt trail right at the ending of the parking area. Look about a little further down the road (~100 feet) and find the second trail – this is the one you want. After hiking down a steep part of the trail into the canyon, you’ll hit the creek. Head upstream along the creek to get to the falls. As you get close to the falls, you’ll have to climb over logs and boulders. Although it is a short "hike" down, it is very steep. I spent most of my time on all fours climbing down.
Now once you get into the canyon and you're back standing on two feet you will be in awe, you just stepped into a fairy's home. The sun sparkling off the water, the lush greenery and the roaring falls. Take it all in.
Over the years this falls has become more popular. I do recommend going earlier in the morning to beat the crowds this way you can swim in peace. It's fun to bring a little picnic and lay out. The sun is brighter and warmer where the falls is earlier, as you reach the later afternoon the sun shifts down stream.
Now, the trek up, is a trek. Remember how steep it was going down? now you have to climb back out of the canyon. There are ropes along the way to help pull your self up. It's short, but its tough. Think about that burn in your glute after doing the Stairmaster for 5 min. This is even better!
Overall, this is one of my favorites places in Oregon.
Be safe and happy dreaming!