Abiqua and Butte Creek Falls

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bobcat
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Abiqua and Butte Creek Falls

Post by bobcat » June 2nd, 2012, 3:09 pm

My wife and I took a picnic lunch to Abiqua Falls, east of Scotts Mills, off Crooked Finger Road, in Marion County. A few things have changed since we were last there a few years ago.

There is no sign at the turn off from Crooked Finger Road, but soon you pass through the Crooked Finger ATV Area on Santiam State Forest land. The gate past the quarry has now been removed, so the area is accessible all year. The road narrows and deteriorates after this, but is still O.K. for passenger cars, dropping through a parcels of BLM and Longview Timberlands property before arriving at a parking pullout before a rusting gate.

The trail began about 40 yards back from the parking area and we passed two signs put up by the (Mt. Angel) Abbey Foundation, which owns the land on this slope and downstream from the falls. The track dropped steeply and would be slippery in wet weather. A rope assisted the descent along a large log and then we followed the path along the north bank of Abiqua Creek to the splended basalt amphitheater formed by Abiqua Falls.
Oregon flag (Iris tenax), Abiqua Falls.jpg
Abbey Foundation sign, Abiqua Falls.jpg
Angle-leaf bitter cress (Cardamine angulata), Abiqua Falls.jpg
Western corydalis (Corydalis scouleri), Abiqua Falls.jpg
Abiqua Creek below Abiqua Falls.jpg
Fairy lanterns (Prosartes smithii), Abiqua Falls.jpg
The cobbled strand, Abiqua Falls.jpg
Side view, Abiqua Falls.jpg
After lunch, we drove a little farther along Crooked Finger Road and turned down the also unmarked, but recently resurfaced, road to Butte Creek Falls. The site and trails are maintained by the Santiam State Forest. We looped down through lush Douglas-fir, hemlock and maple woods and first stopped at Upper Butte Creek Falls with its deep overhang. The trail then traverses above Butte Creek, passing above a small cascade, before emerging at the clifftop viewpoint looking across to 80-foot Butte Creek Falls. Since it was a dry day, I took the steep scramble trail down to the plunge pool and then worked my way to the left so I could look down from the top of the third waterfall, Lower Butte Creek Falls, to its shaded pool.
Upper Butte Creek Falls, Butte Creek.jpg
Under the roof, Upper Butte Creek Falls.jpg
Leafy-stem mitrewort (Mitella caulescens), Butte Creek Falls.jpg
Rosy plectritis (Plectritis congesta), Butte Creek Falls.jpg
Large-flowered blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora), Butte Creek Falls.jpg
Butte Creek Falls, Butte Creek.jpg
Butte Creek Falls from the bottom, Butte Creek.jpg

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BrianEdwards
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Re: Abiqua and Butte Creek Falls

Post by BrianEdwards » June 3rd, 2012, 11:45 am

Nice pics! I see you climbed all the way to the bottom of the big Butte Creek falls. Sometimes that can be a little bit interesting. Nice job doing both in one trip. Doing Abiqua first is the way to go imho, 'cause then Butte Creek feels like a walk in the park.

Thanks for sharing
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

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rick6003
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Re: Abiqua and Butte Creek Falls

Post by rick6003 » June 3rd, 2012, 4:47 pm

Did you visit both Falls on Abiqua Creek? There's 2 about 60 feet high. My dad's family homesteaded on Abiqua creek not to far below one of the Falls. He used to tell me about walking to school 5 miles every day. (he only made it to 3rd grade) Very smart man though. He went to school in the little school on crooked finger road on the other side of the ridge.

It was very good fishing above the falls the first time I went there. Later one big flood washed most of the fish downstream and over the falls. I wonder if it came back yet?

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bobcat
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Re: Abiqua and Butte Creek Falls

Post by bobcat » June 3rd, 2012, 7:27 pm

Brian: My wife was watching, so I wouldn't have done the scramble to the bottom on a wet day, but the footing was good on Friday.

Rick: Very interesting that your Dad's family homesteaded around there! There must be all kinds of stories . . .

I don't know about two falls on Abiqua Creek. This one is 90-100 feet high, depending on the source. There is a trail that leads back from just below the trailhead, perhaps to the top of the falls - I haven't tried it. I know the state forest line runs basically across the top of the falls; from there, for about 1/2 mile, it's the Abbey Foundation.

Noticed no fish in the pool or the creek.

justpeachy
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Re: Abiqua and Butte Creek Falls

Post by justpeachy » June 4th, 2012, 7:35 am

Nice to know that Butte Creek Falls is accessible again. Someone posted earlier this spring that it was closed for logging. We were actually thinking about going there on Saturday, but the Santiam State Forest had, of course, not posted an update about the logging on their website. We didn't want to drive all the way out there only to have to turn back.

Update: I just found out that they HAD updated the website, but I was looking here instead of here.
Last edited by justpeachy on June 4th, 2012, 12:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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rick6003
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Re: Abiqua and Butte Creek Falls

Post by rick6003 » June 4th, 2012, 8:19 am

Bobcat,

Its been a long time since I been there so my scale of memory is off. I did look on Google Earth and I am sure you can see the second falls about a 1/4 mile down creek. If you turn over the direction I think its pretty clearly the second falls. A clearcut with a S shaped road is directly above it. Thats why there aren't fish in the creek still. Used to be some nice size trout in there.

If I had time I would go look. And it might be noted in the trip reports that its there.

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