Hiking to Abiqua Falls has been on my list for a while, and I finally got the chance to check it off my list. And let me tell ya, it was fantastic! The lush landscapes, stunning waterfall, and impressive basalt columns sealed the deal on why it’s one of the top waterfalls in Oregon.
If you’ve been thinking about going, I strongly recommend you pack your hiking bags and get down here. You’ll be in such a state of bliss and awe!
Inside, I give you all the information you need to successfully and safely get to Abiqua Falls! Let’s get this journey started, shall we?!
What you need to know about hiking to Oregon’s Abiqua Falls
Getting to the Abiqua Falls Trailhead:
There are two Abiqua Falls trailhead locations.
The first trailhead, for those with low-clearance cars, is just off Crooked Finger Rd NE. (The road you drive on for the longest time before it turns into a gravel road in the final two miles.)
From this upper parking lot, you can either hike down the road or there might be another trail that creates a shortcut. We parked at the bottom one, so I’m not sure if there’s another trail.
4×4 and high-clearance vehicles
If you have plans to park at the lower trailhead, you need a 4×4/AWD vehicle with clearance. (Clearance is the main issue due to deep divots.) We drove in a Subaru Outback, and it made it with no problems. Other people have written in comments on AllTrails that they made it in Honda CRVs or AstroVans.
I would think hard about your ability to navigate difficult terrain, as you do not want to find yourself stuck in either direction.
Additionally, consider road conditions before heading down. After heavy rains, this place could be a disaster due to the mud and would not be fun to drive in.
The Hike to Abiqua Falls
I honestly enjoyed this hike so much. It’s not long, but the payoff is incredible. While the ending waterfall is the big highlight, make sure to soak in the stunning views of the river. The surrounding scenery is incredibly lush, and you’ll find beautiful sights all along as you walk towards the waterfall!
How long of a hike is Abiqua Falls?
This depends on where you park. If you’re parking at the first (upper) parking lot, you’ll have a six to eight-mile hike round trip. (One review said 2.5 each way; another said they did eight miles total.) I don’t know the specific route, but as mentioned above, I think you’d just hike the road, which is simple enough.
There will be, however, a good amount of elevation change just to get to the lower trailhead.
From the lower parking lot, the Abiqua Falls hike is around a mile round trip. I forgot to start my GPS on my watch, so all we have is the AllTrails distance, and we all know that isn’t exactly accurate.
The trailhead is not behind the white gate but 40 yards before it on the left-hand side as you’re driving/walking in. There is not a sign, but it should be pretty obvious with an opening and plenty of foot traffic.
After about a quarter mile, you’ll reach the ropes. It is steep, so take your time, and you’ll be good.
Once you reach the river bed, go left (upstream) and follow the path/rocks. Again, it’s not marked, but you’ll see a worn path. Five minutes later, you should hit Abiqua Falls!
Is this a hard hike?
If you’re starting from the upper parking lot, I would say this will be a moderate to strenuous hike. The distance plus elevation gain will surely make you tired, so make sure to bring an adequate amount of water (or a water filter) and snacks for the trip.
However, if you’re just doing it from the lower trailhead, I did not find this to be challenging at all. Yes, the uphill section of the ropes will get your heart racing, but it’s short. Before you even have a chance to get out of breath, you’ll be done and nearly at the car.
Are the ropes scary on the Abiqua Falls hike?
Not at all. The ropes are there to help assist hikers up the steep and sometimes muddy section of the trail that leads to the river bed. There’s no exposure risk, and if you slip, you’ll simply slide down the trail and/or get muddy.
Take it seriously, but don’t be overly worried about your hike up and down this section.
Make sure to wear hiking boots.
This is a trail where you want to wear your hiking boots and then carry any sandals or water shoes with you. The trail is steep for about 200 yards, and wearing anything but sturdy boots will increase your slip chances and make it less enjoyable.
What to do once you’re at Abiqua Falls
Once you’re at Abiqua Falls, there’s only so much you can do, as it’s a dead end. But enjoy yourself, take photos, or go swimming. If you want to get your feet wet, you can cross the stream to the other side to get some unique pictures of the basalt canyon walls and waterfall.
Everyone’s different, but you probably don’t need more than an hour once you’re there.
Photos of Abiqua Falls
Enjoy these shots from the stunning Oregon waterfall!
FAQ: Abiqua Falls
Any spots to eat around here?
Abiqua Falls is in the middle of nowhere, so there are not a lot of places to stop for food or lodging in the immediate area. I did stop for breakfast at Tammy D’s Cafe and Bakery, which is about 15 minutes south of Oregon City.
It was delicious, and I recommend it!
Can I fly a drone at Abiqua Falls?
Yes, you are allowed to fly your drone at Abiqua Falls. However, I would say be very cautious. I lost a drone here as the metals in the rock disrupted my GPS, and it flew DIRECTLY into the waterfall, and it was lost forever.
I later learned that two other photographers had lost their drone here due to GPS issues. So, I would say if you do fly it, be extremely careful.
How high is Abiqua Falls?
Abiqua Falls is a 92-foot waterfall located about an hour south of Oregon City, Oregon. It’s a stunning waterfall in a Basalt Canyon that will blow your mind when you visit.
It’s easily one of the best waterfalls to visit in Oregon!
How close is Silver Falls State Park?
Silver Falls State Park is about 35-40 minutes from Abiqua Falls. While it’s not so far as the crow flies, there’s no direct route, and you have to go back the way you initially drove in and then double back.
If you’re in the area and have time, I highly recommend checking out this gorgeous state park and the Trail of Ten Falls!
Should I bring hiking poles?
While they aren’t a bad idea, I don’t think you’ll need them with the available ropes. For some, bringing one hiking pole will be beneficial. But for most hikers, I believe the ropes will give you all the stability you’ll need.
It just rained. Should I go to Abiqua Falls?
While the waterfall will be roaring, the trail down will be cruddy. If you go, expect to slip and get muddy going down the trail.
However, if you’re okay with this, go for it. It’ll be a memorable experience for sure!
Secondly, unless you have some good offroading tires and experience, I may pass on driving down right after a strong rainstorm. The road could be terrible.
Can I bring my dog to Abiqua Falls?
Yes, dogs are welcome at Abiqua Falls. Please keep an eye on them and clean up all poop to keep the area in the pristine condition it is currently.
Can you swim in Abiqua Falls?
Sure! Swimming here will be very cold, but on a hot summer afternoon, it’ll feel great. Just know this has a ton of water flowing over the falls, so I wouldn’t recommend getting too close as it could cause injury.
That said, the area away from Abiqua Falls would be a great place to lounge in the water and soak in the views!
How is a Basalt Canyon formed?
A Basalt Canyon, or columnar basalt gorge, forms through volcanic activity and erosion. It starts with a volcanic eruption, where basaltic lava flows and cools. As it cools, the lava contracts and creates hexagonal columns, called columnar basalt.
Erosion by water, wind, and ice exposes these columns, forming a deep and narrow canyon with towering basalt formations on each side. The specific details can vary, but the distinctive shape of the basalt columns makes basalt canyons visually striking geological features.
Do I need a 4×4 to hike Abiqua Falls?
No, you do not need a 4×4 vehicle to do the hike, but it will dramatically shorten your trip. I will say that you do need a 4×4 to access the lower trailhead. The road is not maintained and has a few spots with massive rugs, and a low-clearance car will almost surely bottom out and get stuck.
Does it snow here?
Yes, it can snow under the right conditions at Abiqua Falls. On my trip in late October 2023, my car’s thermometer showed that it was 28 degrees driving in. So yes, it can get quite cold here, and if there’s precipitation, snow is totally possible.
Because of its ability to freeze, be aware of any ice on the trail if you’re going in the early morning before the sun hits the trail.
Final Thoughts on Abiqua Falls
This is a wonderful hike that is good for anyone ages eight and up. You’ll see the stunning waterfall, beautiful creek bed surrounded by mossy trees, and millions of years old basalt columns.
Abiqua Falls is definitely one of the best of the best in Oregon.
If you have the time, I would combine this with Silver Falls State Park for a full day of adventure and waterfalls. It’ll be a day/weekend you’ll never forget!
Until next time, adventurers, take care and be safe.
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