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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I first read about Abiqua Falls on a local blog called Go West, Young Tex. The impression I was left with was that it was a "secret waterfall," both difficult and treacherous to reach. A friend living in Silverton claimed it could only be found by bushwhacking one's way through private property. Further investigation on his part revealed that this wasn't the case.
While reaching the falls this time of year doesn't require a machete and a Sherpa Guide, it's hardly pooch, kid or Mini Cooper friendly. Getting there requires a hardy, gas-guzzling vehicle. The road leading to the trailhead is rough, rocky and, on a busy day, an oblivious dirt biker lies around every blind corner. The trail down is roughly a mile but it's both steep and slippery. It leads up to a slick, 45-degree slide down a muddy path between two fallen evergreens. If you make it past this you're in for another 1/4 mile hike along a rocky creek bed. Your reward for all of this? A gorgeous basalt bowl and a vista that's a few hobbits short of being a Tolkien fever dream.
While the climb back up definitely qualifies as a "total pain in the ass," the falls are worth both the effort and, in my opinion, being given the black and white treatment in Photoshop. While the road and trail may keep the crowds away, the secret is out. The day I was down there, several fisherman and a family had overtaken the place. This didn't stop three teenagers from attempting to recreate a few of the early passages from Lord of the Flies though.
Further information and directions? You can find them over here.