Abiqua Falls

June 12, 2015  •  4 Comments

This deserves a post all to itself.   My local tour guide and BFF Lori had sent me a number of waterfalls that would only be a few hours from our camping spot at Champoeg State Park but were not on the "tourist attractions" list.   Hikes that would allow some hiking in the back woods with the poodles and hopefully provide some amazing photo ops.  I had told her months ago when she mentioned them that I wasn't going without her!   So since she brought her RV and one of her dogs, Harley the powderpuff chinese crested (the others were left home with her very capable and super sweet hubby Mike) down to Champoeg for the weekend and Saturday dawned bright and sunny - we took the truck and were off!!!    She had printed off directions and we had our trusty Gazatteer (I have one for MT and had purchased the OR one as well since I use them a LOT). 

We traveled through Scott's Mill and Mount Angel where the Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary (the link will show pictures) resides.   Apparently through discussion with Lori the Abbey owns a LOT of land in that area as well!   Also there in town is the old grainery and it was in a spot where I had to at least practice a bit with my "still new to me" ultra wide angle lens.   After all I hoped to use that camera and lens at the waterfalls we were hiking to.

Mount AngelMount Angel

Off onto the back forest roads we went.   Not bad I thought although Lori had notes saying the road was going to get pretty bad before we got to the trail head.   As always, there were people posting how horrible it was and others saying they'd done just fine in their Subaru's.   OMG!  If I'd had been brave enough to stop we'd have gotten photos.    I've been on some really bad roads out here in the MT wilds but this one I'm going to put at the top of the list.   One lane and for the first time in my truck's history I had to use 4 Lo (yes we had to get out the manual to figure out how to do that) to get out.   I kept watch on the odometer and honestly after a point we figured we HAD to have been over the worst of it - haha.   Once closer to the trailhead it wasn't bad and we found a spot before the end where I just said "Look at this nice big pullout on the road, we gotta be close, let's park and walk the rest."   Which we did and it was perfect we were only 2 blocks or so from the trail head.   Little did we know (yes Lori - BFF and Best Tour Planner Ever had notes and reviews on the trail).    

The falls and trail to it are actually on Abbey land and just down the first slope we saw big white official signs telling us we were on our own at our own risk and the Abbey had no responsibility or liability for injuries sustained.   Eeks!   Ahhh just overkill.  NOT!   This being Oregon rainforest of course the trail was muddy, rocky, slick and steep.  So steep that there were I think 3 sections where someone had put heavy climbing rope from tree to tree to hang on to.   Onward we went - Lori, Harley, Sterling, Epic and Sherry determined not to let this deter us (and I was hoping not to fall on my butt and break the cameras - yes, that is what you worry about not broken limbs....).    The last 50-75 feet down to the creek bottom follows the trunk of a downed tree - oh and I must mention - is so steep THIS rope was knotted every 2 feet and loose at the bottom.  You had to scale it like you were mountaineering.  All the while trying to make sure the dogs would get down safely as well (or not trip us up).  No they weren't on leash - it was just too dangerous for them and us to have them tied up and frankly we'd not seen anyone all the way down.

Once at the bottom we walked the creek up to the falls.    Was it worth it?  OH YEAH!    Were we wondering how we would get out?   OH YEAH!

Once at the falls we discovered 3 young guys (think early 20s) there taking pictures and throwing rocks in the water.   I got busy taking photos of the falls and I don't think they turned out half bad!

Abiqua FallsAbiqua Falls

Abiqua FallsAbiqua Falls

Different camera (yes foolish me I had to haul along TWO!).

Abiqua FallsAbiqua Falls

Abiqua FallsAbiqua Falls

Of course Epic really REALLY wanted to go over and fetch the rocks the boys were throwing around so I found him a stick a a portion of the falls pool to get in and cool off and just overall make him happy.    He of course figured out how to cheat in a hurry as well!

We made it back up to the truck (all waterfalls involve a hike straight up and straight down you know) with some pauses for breath on the way back up that risky trail.  We also met about 3 groups of people on their way down.   One group of teens with canvas tennis shoes on no less (and I was complaining that my day hikers didn't have enough traction - I must be getting old) and another with some younger kids - NOT recommended.   We got up to the road and there was more traffic headed down to an already full turnaround at the end of the road.   As we were loading up the truck we saw the 3 young guys walking up the road.  Since the only car WE had passed was parked 2.5 miles up the hill at the top I asked if they wanted a ride back up.  We jammed them in the back, jammed Sterling in the back seat and joked that it might have been faster for them to walk.   It was hot and I was glad we could offer them some relief from the hike back up the road.    On the way back up I think we came across at least 3 more cars heading down and 4 more parked at various spots along the way.  Luckily we didn't have to try to negotiate passing paths with any large trucks or we would have had a problem.....the other cars we just squeaked by.   I would not take a car down that road that didn't have 4WD, high clearance and VERY reliable tires.

Dropped off the guys at their car and we were off to our next hike.    Very happy we did this one though but not one to go tackle by yourself for sure and I was glad we did it first - when we were fresh and before all the other people got out of bed!


Gunilla Bäck(non-registered)
This is gorgeous as well. Fun action shots of Epic.
Far Side(non-registered)
The ropes would have freaked me out and not knowing how steep it was I would have given up . You gals are real troopers! Loved the photos! I would have been tempted to try out the water too but I bet it was cold :)
Brian King Images
Gorgeous waterfall! It was worth the hike!
Your photos are outstanding! Love your water dog! Also, I so admire your ability to take on things ...I know I wouldn't do half the stuff you do.

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