Abiqua Falls Hike

You know Abiqua Falls. You know it from all those serious PNW photographers on Instagram. It’s moss covered canyon and black basalt amphitheater is one of the best Oregon has. If you are in the area and looking for a waterfall, you must see this one.

We were hesitant at first, due to the weather conditions in early spring, as well as the complicated directions we were finding. But we did our best research and documented our trip carefully in order to give others a good shot at finding it! It ended up not being as difficult as we thought! Find our directions below.

The hike itself is rated “moderate” to “difficult” depending on who you ask and due to the steepness of the unkept trail (we would say moderate). However, the “out-and-back” trail is pretty short (it took us only 20 minutes to reach the falls from the trailhead).

Getting To Abiqua Falls Trailhead

  • From Portland: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • From Salem: 1 hour
  • From Eugene: 2 hours
  • From Bend: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Use Google Maps/GPS to get to Scotts Mills, Oregon.
    • From Portland, you will end up traveling south on S Nowlens Bridge Rd as you get into Scotts Mills, take a left at Crooked Finger Road NE (south) – reset odometer.
    • From Salem, you will end up traveling east on Mt Angel Scotts Mills Road NE as you get into Scotts Mills, take a right at Crooked Finger Road NE (south) – reset odometer.
  • After 10.7 miles on Crooked Finger Road NE, take a right onto an unmarked forest dirt road. (There will be a couple dirt roads as you near 10.7 miles on the odometer, just wait for 10.7! Also, at the correct road, you will see a wooden sign on the right – see image below)
Notice sign on left of image. Our car is facing out from the unmarked forest road.

This unmarked forest dirt road–about 2.5 miles long–takes you all the way to the trailhead. At 0.5 miles, stay right at the “Y”. Note, though, that the road is not very well maintained, especially after about 1 mile in. When we were here in March of 2018, I would say it would be near impossible to get to the trailhead in a car without getting stuck or damaging it. We did, however, see two SUVs (assuming all-wheel/4-wheel drive) that made it to the trailhead, where there is room to park your car. See photos below.

Conditions of the forest road in March.
Some of these potholes were 6 inches deep.

We parked 1.1 miles in from the unmarked forest dirt road at a small pull-off just big enough for two cars, and then walked the rest of the road (about 40 minutes) to the trailhead. There are a few more pull-offs like this along the way, if you’re willing to risk the drive.

Where we parked. 1.1 miles in from the forest road.

Alternatively, you can park at a large dirt clearing about 200 yards in (and on the right) from the unmarked forest dirt road. From here, we estimate it would take about 1 hour to walk the road to the trailhead.

Hiking From the Trailhead to Abiqua Falls

There are two trails at the trailhead. One is steep but relatively safe, and it’s the one you want to take. The other one we hear is far more dangerous and should be avoided.

The trail you want to take will come up on your left. You’ll see a big white sign attached to a tree about 20 feet into the trail. There aren’t other trees with signs around or trails that lead downwards, so it should be pretty obvious. The more dangerous trail is next to a rusted, white gate and is further down the road (near the parked cars in the photo below).

The white sign to the left. The cars parked at the end of the road, next to the white gate to the right.
Where you start the hike!

It will only take about 15 minutes to hike down to the river. From the river, you take a left and hike upstream for another 5 minutes before turning the corner and finding the waterfall!

Walking down the trail.
Where the trail meets the river.
The waterfall is just around the bend to the left!

If you have any questions about Abiqua Falls, message us!

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