The plan: Hike Abiqua and Silver Creek Falls, eat some delicious snacks, ask ALL the most important questions, and take all the pictures, and finish up the day meeting our husbands for dinner.
Where: Abiqua and Silver Creek Falls (Silverton area, east of Salem)
When: Sunday May 20th, 2018
Who: Brittany and Jessica
Existential Question of the Day: Best M&M Flavor! Answer: Jess – Peanut Butter, Brittany – Tie between Crispy and Pretzel
Snacks and ratings:
Mango Habanero Hawaiian Brand Kettle Chips – Wouldn’t buy again 1/10
Sahale Snacks: Vanilla Pomegranate Cashews and Tangerine Vanilla Cashew Macadamia – Both of these were delicious, 8/10, and I have since bought them again!
Caramel M&Ms – Both of us felt kind of “meh” about the Caramel – 2/10
First things first – if you like waterfalls, this is an absolutely badass adventure for you! SO MANY WATERFALLS! Hiking to waterfalls is one of my very favorite kinds of hiking – to me they are the literal definition of awesome, and they are such a beautiful reward just for doing something I like to do!
Bright and early on a Sunday, Brittany and I set off on our first adventure! Thankfully, my friend Nettie mentioned a few key things regarding Abiqua before we set out: four-wheel drive, high clearance, mud, and GLOVES… for “the ropes”- Ominous? I think so.
The road to the trail head is a little tricky to find – use the hiking guide’s instructions!
As we were driving to the trail head, the pavement ended and Brittany looked over at me, a huge grin on her face and exclaimed something like “this is exactly what I wanted!” We drove a little ways down the gravel road, and took a right down a logging road, the only indicator being the wooden brown (blank) sign board at the intersection. Following the website’s directions, we continued straight, winding down and down, through giant potholes and roller coaster-like ups and downs. I would definitely recommend a vehicle with decent clearance, and we were very happy for the four wheel drive on the way out. Thankfully there was little to no mud to contend with, though passing other vehicles was a tight fit.
Finally, we arrived at a closed gate, and parked by the other trucks. At first, we started walking down the road past the gate (continuing the way we had been driving), but after a short distance, it didn’t seem right.
Brittany pulled up the instructions again, which set us backtracking on foot past the trucks and a short ways back up the road (away from the gate). We found the trail and headed into the woods.
Let’s be honest, if someone tells you “bring gloves for the ropes”, you’d think you would have a decent idea of what lay ahead of you, but I still wasn’t prepared for the steep slope we found, headed straight down to the river bed. The ropes were life savers, and we equal parts climbed/rappelled/fell/scooted-on-our-butts down to the water.
The trail meanders along the water, headed upstream for a short ways (about 0.5 mile), over some logs and old rock falls, before rounding a corner and ending in the beautiful Abiqua falls.
There were two others there when we arrived (doing some photography and using a drone), and soon we were joined by a couple and their dog. We met a few people on the way back out, but generally found ourselves alone. (Side note: I hate to be the grumpy old soul, but listening to a drone is not my idea of “enjoying” a waterfall… just sayin’. While we’re on the topic, stop playing your music on a speaker while you’re hiking – you’re ruining it for everyone else! Listen to nature or bring some headphones, damn!).
The hike back out was quick and easy, the ropes making the ascent much easier than I had originally expected. There were a few more vehicles coming into the falls as we were headed out, but we survived!
Pros: Gorgeous waterfall, very few people, short hike, the dog that was there seemed to do fine!
Cons: The steep descent down to the river bed (ropes help!), hard to get to for such a short hike, four wheel drive/high clearance vehicle preferred, unless you want to hike the road part way in. No bathrooms. Not great for kids.
The Trail of Ten Falls (Silver Creek Falls State Park)
If you’ve never been to Silver Creek Falls State Park, I’d definitely recommend it. If you are just visiting Oregon, a day trip will suffice, but if you have more time there is plenty to explore. There’s plenty of different types of camping and adventure for all types of badasses!
After Abiqua, Brittany and I headed into Silverton and grabbed a few snacks at the grocery store, and ate on our way to Silver Creek Falls. It is pretty easy to get to, paved roads all the way, and a HUGE day use area, including many covered areas, picnic tables and a lodge with a store. The parking lot was PACKED and we were fortunate to find a spot that had just been vacated. After waiting in line at the bathroom, we headed out to start the loop.
The first fall you come to from above, hiking down to where it ends in a pool of icy, clear water. This is South Falls, 177ft of awesome rushing power that you get to walk behind. The air feels amazing and fresh, and you come out the other side feeling absolutely invigorated. I’m telling you, it’s literally AWESOME!!
The falls all differ from each other in size, shape and intrigue level. There are stretches of trail that run along the water, and some that come into the forest a little more. The entire loop is 7.2 miles, but can be shortened or cut into portions easily (check out this helpful map from the Oregon State Parks website).
These are only a few of the falls we saw- we ended up seeing 7/10. We had to cut the hike short since we didn’t get started until after lunch, and we had dates to get back to! We took the Winter Trail back to connect to the Rim Trail and headed back to the truck.
Pros: Easy to get to, lots of trails, ten gorgeous waterfalls, generally not too strenuous, bathrooms, great for kids (mostly), and has a store!
Cons: Parking was a little difficult due to LOTS of people, Dogs only allowed on the Rim Trail, Back country trails and Bike Path (note: don’t bring your pup if you want to see the falls).
When we got back to Oregon City we met our husbands, Gene and Dante, to enjoy some delicious food and adult beverage(s) at Portland Cider Company!
The cider and the food here is delicious! I had Cajun Mac and Cheese (Dante had his with meat added- multiple options available). Brittany enjoyed the French Dip Sandwich, while Gene had the Pulled Pork. One of the fun things here is they often mix together two kinds of cider for a whole new flavor – ask your server for their recommendations!
All in all, an AMAZING first adventure!!!
Let me know what you think in the comments! 🙂