A few Saturdays ago we decided that it was way too hot to stay in our little apartment. We needed to go somewhere really cool and cool off. Subsequently we started searching for popular swimming holes in Oregon and came upon Abiqua Falls, a majestic waterfall situated near Scott Mills, OR in a beautiful forest. The description read “steep and an unimproved trail, 0.8 miles”. So we took off to the supposed spot without a doubt. As we drove towards the foot of the western Cascades we passed through the scenic Willamette Valley and the especially inspiring views of Mt. Hood.
After driving an hour and fifteen minutes we finally made it to the promised rough and un-maintained gravel road. To let you in on a fact, we were on my small Toyota Matrix. We continued driving on the gravel road until we reached a de-facto parking lot. It was the spot for people with smaller vehicles unable to make it any closer to the waterfall to leave the bumpy road and proceed on foot. As a result, our short hike became a solid hour-and-half hike to the trailhead on a gravel road full of pot-holes and crazy trucks passing by. When we finally got down to the trailhead we scrambled down the steep path in anticipation of seeing the waterfall.
We were met with one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. Abiqua Falls is a near-perfect free -falling waterfall of 92 feet in height located among columnar basalt jointing. Various shades of moss and linchen decorated the canyon. We stared at it in awe and then decided to get in to cool off from a long day. Swimming in the cold water was an experience in and of it self. There were a few other hikers that enjoyed the views of the waterfall and some joined us for swimming. The rocky shore even had a fire pit that someone once made to enjoy a fire and a warm drink after a cold swim. We decided to return at a later date with blankets and mugs. It will be a perfect place to enjoy a chilly afternoon by the fire and views of the magnificent waterfall.
Since it was starting to get dark we headed up the trail to go back to our car. When we started hiking up the road a truck with some compassionate people stopped to offer us a ride. We hopped into the back and enjoyed a bumpy ride up to the parking lot.
Like many of our trips are, it was a spontaneous adventure. Abiqua Falls is a gem of a waterfall and a must visit.
We followed these directions (getting to the trailhead does require some off-roading)
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. Low clearance vehicles will have difficulty since the road down is rough and steep in places. 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. Check out Travel Oregon for more awesome places in Oregon.