Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

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Splintercat
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Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

Post by Splintercat » December 17th, 2017, 7:41 pm

Spent a lovely afternoon at Abiqua Falls on Saturday. It's such a gem, but really needs some help from TKO to build a proper trail -- the boot path is just a mess, and the area is getting a lot of visitors. A big thank-you to the Abbey Foundation for keeping the area open -- and a big thank-you to fate for Weyerhaeuser for NOT having this parcel fall into their rapacious corporate hands! Much of the watershed is owned by Weyerhaeuser, and they're doing their best to liquidate the standing timber to keep those next-quarter stock prices propped up. Thankfully, this little piece of land is uncut -- and the falls, itself, seems to be on Oregon Department of Forestry land.

So... here are some photos, starting with the warning sign at the trailhead:

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Followed by some really goofy "trail" sections involving dubious ropes...

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...and then, lots of beauty. Really a spectacular little canyon!

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Abiqua Falls:

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Basalt detail:

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Abiqua Falls reflections:

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Cheryl's driving instructions in the Field Guide are spot on - and the upper section of the road is recently graded and improved. The lower section still has its rough spots, including a particularly steep and rutted switchback before the road levels off and follows the gorge rim to the trailhead.

Nice hike in low water, but treacherous during heavy runoff.

Tom :)

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adamschneider
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Re: Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

Post by adamschneider » December 17th, 2017, 8:03 pm

For the record, here's the land ownership situation down there:

- Most of the drive down from Crooked Finger Road is in Santiam State Forest — except for the southeasternmost bend, which is partly on BLM land and partly on land owned by Longview Timberlands (now a division of Weyerhaeuser).

- The trailhead (and the first part of the trail) is on Longview Timberlands property.

- The rest of the trail, and the creek below Abiqua Falls, is on Abbey Foundation property.

- The falls themselves are pretty much right on the border between Abbey land and Santiam State Forest.

- Abiqua Creek upstream from the falls is in SSF for 1/3 of a mile, then Longview for the next 1/2 mile.

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Webfoot
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Re: Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

Post by Webfoot » December 19th, 2017, 5:51 am

Is there a route to keep your feet dry at that flow level, or do you end up wading? I've only been there once in summer at low flow.

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adamschneider
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Re: Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

Post by adamschneider » December 19th, 2017, 8:45 am

Webfoot wrote:Is there a route to keep your feet dry at that flow level, or do you end up wading? I've only been there once in summer at low flow.
I've only been there in winter — when it looked a lot like Tom's photos — and it was dry.

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Re: Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

Post by Webfoot » December 19th, 2017, 10:40 am

Thanks

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Splintercat
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Re: Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

Post by Splintercat » December 20th, 2017, 8:08 am

I'd say to just watch the water levels overall... the water was well above the stream bank portion of the trail and had covered the cobble beach at the falls at some point this fall -- probably after the heavy rains we had in late October/early November. There's a semi-boot path along the stream bank that stays above high water, but that's just one more impact on the canyon, so best to go at lower water and stay on the main boot path.

Tom

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BaseCampBronco
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Re: Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

Post by BaseCampBronco » December 20th, 2017, 12:50 pm

Splintercat wrote:I'd say to just watch the water levels overall... the water was well above the stream bank portion of the trail and had covered the cobble beach at the falls at some point this fall -- probably after the heavy rains we had in late October/early November. There's a semi-boot path along the stream bank that stays above high water, but that's just one more impact on the canyon, so best to go at lower water and stay on the main boot path.

Tom
I think October 22nd was probably the peak water flow – that's when I was there, and I've never seen it higher before, and the pictures in the days following show a marked decrease in water flow. Here's a photo off of my Facebook that shows just how high the water was.

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Re: Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

Post by Webfoot » December 20th, 2017, 3:59 pm

Wow, that's a completely different animal! :o It reminds me of the transformation of Wahclella Falls during the flood conditions of December 2015 that I took my life in my hands to see.

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gratefultrails
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Re: Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

Post by gratefultrails » December 29th, 2017, 2:06 pm

Great photos, the hike up the canyon looks just as nice as the falls with all of the basalt formations. That area has some interesting history with Chief Crooked Finger and the Molala/Klamath alliance against settlers.

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Re: Abiqua Falls (Dec 16)

Post by justpeachy » December 30th, 2017, 9:10 am

That is such a cool waterfall and a beautiful setting. I would love to see it in icy/snowy conditions, but getting there in such conditions would be tricky!
Cheryl

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