5 Things You Need to Know Before Hiking to Abiqua Falls

I thought hiking to Abiqua Falls would be easy. But as I quickly discovered, there’s a number of things you need to know beforehand to even get there. And so after figuring it all out, I’m going to detail that with you and narrow down the list to the 5 most important things to note.

The good news is that with what I’ll be sharing with you here, it’ll make the trip much easier and the next time you go, you’ll easily be able to find your way to the falls without any issues (hopefully). But first, let me give you an overview of this hike in case it’s your first time hearing about this awesome waterfall:

Quick info on Abiqua Falls:

how to hike to abiqua falls oregon 01

  • Name: Abiqua Falls.
  • Height: Over 90 feet high.
  • Hiking distance to it: 3/4 mile one way (there’s a lot more to this).
  • Is it easy to find this waterfall? Somewhat.
  • Permit needed? No.
  • Difficulty: Moderate to difficult at spots.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5.
  • Dangerous? Some parts of the hike are (slippery areas), but it’s ok for the most part.
  • Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s an awesome waterfall with stunning views.

Aside from these basics, getting there is a bit of a different story (it’s not that simple):

Here are the 5 things you need to know about hiking to Abiqua Falls:

1) Set your GPS to go to Abiqua Falls trailhead, but prepare for a long rocky road to get there:

abiqua falls map 04

There’s at least 5 miles of dirty, rugged, pot hole ridden roads that you’ll cross on a road called Crooked Finger Road NE. That road will take you to a turn you’ll need to make to get on the official road to Abiqua Falls trailhead (there is no official name for that road). Make sure your GPS is set for the trailhead so you don’t miss that turn.

Once you do make the turn, you’ll almost immediately see cars parked nearby in what is known as the Abiqua Falls Parking lot. Now here’s the thing, this is NOT the official stop where the trailhead is.

The trailhead is what you want to input and it’s actually down the road for a few more miles and that road is VERY rocky and a bit shady at times.

Unless you are driving an SUV or better, I wouldn’t bother going down that rocky road (I was driving a Rav4 and there were times I wasn’t too confident about that road).

If you’re in a situation where you don’t have a good vehicle to drive down to the trailhead, park in the official parking lot to Abiqua Falls and walk down the road until the end of it. If you do have an SUV or better and are confident in your driving skills, drive down that rocky road until it ends.

2) The closer you park to the trailhead, the less you’ll have to actually hike to Abiqua Falls:

how to find the trailhead to abiqua falls 06

Ideally, you’ll want to park at the actual trailhead, but that’s often a difficult thing to accomplish because:

  • It’s often crowded in that area so the spaces are filled up quickly.
  • Not everyone will have an SUV or better to drive all the way down there.
  • Fortunately, you do have the official parking lot at the top of the road.
  • You will also see parking spots on the side of the road as you near Abiqua Falls trailhead (so you will have options).

Just note that the further from the trailhead you park, the longer you’ll have to hike down the road, then back up to get to your car which is why your FULL hiking distance may vary depending on where you parked your car. I parked mine right by the trailhead so for me, it was only 3/4 a mile one way.

Note: Your GPS might mess up and tell you that the trailhead to Abiqua Falls is much closer than it actually is. This is what happened to me and it led me to the wrong pull off spot on the road. I later learned the real trailhead was further down. Remember, the road will end eventually and at it’s end, you will see a white gate with a small space for a few cars. That’s where the real trailhead is.

3) Once you get to the trailhead, look for the obvious trail (there are few signs):

When you park (or reach) the trailhead area, about 20 feet away from the parking area (up the road) is where the path to reach the falls begins. You may see a sign on a tree here and there but for the most part, this trail is not very official.

Also, you do have to keep in mind that you are actually walking near a private area, but the trail itself is open to the public, so make sure you stay on the path.

As you start the trail, you will basically walk down a little bit, then shift left, then further down and left. You will see a path as you start the trail notifying you that beyond a certain point, you are on private land. Make sure not to continue on that restricted road/path, and stay on the official trail.

4) It’s going to get very slippery on your hike to Abiqua Falls (be prepared):

difficult part of hike to abiqua falls

Here’s how this hike is going to look for you:

1) First, the trail you start on will seem easy and manageable, but it’ll quickly start to turn downhill (literally) where you’ll have to cross some seriously slippery mud areas.

Fortunately, there are ropes tied around the area to help you make your way down, sometimes in bundles so you have options. You can use that to maintain balance and control.

One of the best suggestions I can make here is to wear good hiking shoes. Here are some of my personal recommendations for this terrain:

2) Once you reach the river area, you’ll basically walk along the rocky beach (upstream) for about 1/4 mile until you reach Abiqua Falls.

It will be slippery in those areas too, but it won’t be as bad as the descent/ascent up the area you were at before. Again, good hiking shoes will go a long way for you here.

3) You’ll pass by a gorge area, after which Abiqua Falls will appear before you. You can explore a large chunk of the area and really get some amazing photos and experiences.

4) Then all you have to do is backtrack to your car (which hopefully isn’t too far from the trailhead).

5) There’s actually another waterfall above Abiqua Falls (but it’s not a safe hike):

hike to top of abiqua falls 04

I accidentally discovered it when my GPS took me to the wrong parking area. When I parked my car, it was only about 300 feet away from the official trailhead area. The parking lot can only fit about 3 cars, but it’s slightly above the Abiqua Falls area.

I found what I thought was a small trail and followed it down thinking it would lead me to the falls. If you stay to the left of that “trail”, you will eventually come across a rocky cliff and if you’re going in the right direction, there will be ropes available for you to descend on.

When you make it down there, you will see a swimming hole, a waterfall and even a short trail that takes you to the top of Abiqua Falls.

abiqua falls secret trail hike 09

For me, when I reached this spot, while I was very happy to discover it, I was also angry because it was the wrong spot and that I had to climb all the way back up to find the real trail (plus I was in a lot of pain from my earlier hikes spanning for a few weeks earlier).

So how do you actually find this area? 

Well remember when I said above not to rely entirely on your GPS because it led me further from the actual trailhead?

Well that spot actually happens to be where the “trail” down to the top of Abiqua Falls is. Again, it’s not an official trail from my understanding, you need to stay to the left (some connecting areas will look like trails) and it can get pretty slippery and dangerous if you’re not careful.

Don’t go here unprepared, make sure to wear good gear like this:

Other questions related to hiking to Abiqua Falls:

How long of a hike is Abiqua Falls?

The hike to Abiqua Falls is anywhere from 1-4 miles and that depends on how close to the trailhead you park. The closer you park to it, the shorter your hike will be. Very often the main trailhead is filled up so you may need to park further.

Can you swim in Abiqua Falls?

I have seen people swim in Abiqua Falls and no signs restricting that.

Did Abiqua Falls burn?

No the area in Abiqua Falls is fine. There were fires outside the area in other parts of Oregon, but this area is not damaged.

And there you go, that’s everything you need to know to get to Abiqua Falls and enjoy that awesome spot (as well as whatever is around it). This is also one of many beautiful waterfall hikes you’ll find in Oregon and I’ve added a link to show you others you can find in the state.

If you have any questions about this hike or want to share your experiences if you’ve already been there, let me know!

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