Thursday, March 23, 2017

Trail Report: Abiqua Falls and Butte Creek Falls

Abiqua Falls

Abiqua Falls has been on my list of waterfalls to see for quite a while. I finally got there, and it was just as spectacular in person as I thought it would be. However, getting there was another story. Although I'm usually a good planner, I ran out of time to research the falls, which is my own fault. I assumed it'd be one of those falls where you drive up to a nice trailhead and then walk a short distance to the falls. Nope.

The road to the trailhead was full of potholes, and I eventually parked in an ATV staging area off to the side and walked the rest of the way down. Trucks and Jeeps made it down the rest of the road, but it got worse after I parked and my city car would probably have gotten stuck. I ended up having to walk two miles to the trailhead - which didn't have a sign saying it was for the falls. Instead it was a sign about entering private property and using caution. Luckily I ran into a couple that said this was the entrance to the trail.

The "trail" was down a muddy and slick hill through the forest down to the river, and then it continued right along the rocks near the river. A lot of the time was spent walking on the steep river bank. There were several sections where a rope had been tied onto a tree and extended down the trail 10-20 feet because it was so steep and muddy that you had to use the rope to get up or down that section. It was treacherous, but fun.

Part of the trail - the muddy section in between the logs

Another part of the trail - the muddy section going up and behind the tree

Gorgeous river - at times the trail went right next to water

Had I read about the trail and the falls beforehand, none of this would have come as a surprise. Luckily, it was fine. If I had been in a more adventurous mood and knew that this is what I was getting into, I would have enjoyed it more.

That said, the falls were beautiful and absolutely worth the long walk there. The gorgeous basalt amphitheater was what had attracted me to these falls. I wish I had been there at a time with better lighting (I was there around 1pm, when the sun washes everything out), so I will have to go back again someday in better conditions. My photos are not anywhere near what I wanted them to be. (Google image the falls and see what they're supposed to look like.)

Pretty mossy tree near the river

Upper & Lower Butte Creek Falls 

Upper Butte Creek Falls

Lower Butte Creek Falls

I almost didn't see these falls, because they were just a few minutes drive from the road that I had to take to get to Abiqua Falls, and I didn't want to deal with another potholed road and a difficult trail. I decided to try it and turn around if things got rough. Fortunately, the road to the Butte Creek trailhead was much better and there was an actual trailhead with a sign/information and a nice, short trail to the falls. I'm glad I decided to try getting to these falls, because this was a beautiful area and the falls were gorgeous.

Pretty trail to the falls

I liked how this dead tree looked among the rest of the trees

I also got lucky because the falls were quite full. When looking at pictures of the falls on Google images, I can see they're smaller during other times in the year. However, I would like to go back in the fall as the colors look gorgeous then. I highly recommend these falls to anyone who visits Oregon!

Upper Butte Creek Falls

Lower Butte Creek Falls

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