Take a hike: Fall is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the scenery

September 2012 Posted in Other

By P. MillirenWater, snacks and proper clothing and footwear makes a day of hiking a fun family adventure.

With the leaves turning shades of golden yellow or rustic red and the air a little crisper, fall is a great time to explore what’s in our backyard by taking a hike. Here are two nearby hikes to share with friends.

Abiqua Falls

Not for the faint of heart, here is a hike for the more adventurous: Abiqua Falls is arguably one of Oregon’s finest waterfalls with exquisite rock formations and colors. Abiqua Falls is part of the same geological formation as the waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park. Not far from Scotts Mills, this slightly more difficult hike is well worth the time and energy to get there.

On private property, the owners have graciously allowed the public to use the trail to the falls. The road is rough and best for four-wheel drive vehicles, but smaller cars can get to the parking area if you are a cautious driver and don’t care too much about your paint. The other option is to park two miles above the trailhead in the ATV designated parking lot and then walk down the roadway.

The first part of the trail is a nice forest walk. Then there are a series of four ropes to help your descent and then eventually climb back up the hillside. If you have bad ankles or knees, this might not be the trail for you.

You will be scrambling over rocks and ducking downed logs following the trail upstream to the falls.

The trail stops at the bowl of the waterfall, where there is a rocky beach. A picnic is almost required here while you soak in the ambience and the beauty of the sights and sounds of this sacred place.

This is also a fairly difficult falls to find. In the middle of Scotts Mills, turn south on Crooked Finger Road. Drive 9.5 miles until the pavement ends, then drive another 1.4 miles on gravel to a gravel road on the right. This is CF 300 road, but there’s no sign, so watch your odometer. The road gets very rough for a bit, winding downhill through lots of clearcuts.

There is a parking area for ATV’s on the right. You may park here and walk about two miles down. It will be a steep hike back up. The other alternative is the trailhead parking at a locked gate about 2.5 miles from where you turned off Crooked Finger Road.

When you see the orange gate, you are near the trailhead. Walk back up the hill about 200 feet. Do not take the first trail, it is very steep and full of poison oak. Take the second trail back up the hill on the right as you look up the hill. You will see a metal sign on a tree proclaiming it to be private land and to respect it.

Rating – Difficult but children with the right attitude and hiking experience can do it. Distance – Less than a mile if you park down by the gate. Four miles round trip if you park in the ATV lot.

Butte Creek Falls

A short drive up the road from Abiqua Falls will take you to the Butte Creek Falls trailhead. A fine place to go on a any day, you can enjoy peace and quiet, as well as a possible dip into the top section of the set of three waterfalls, so make sure to bring a towel.

Not a long or difficult trail, it is a nice place to go to get away from it all and have a nice picnic with the family. The upper falls is more friendly for children, the lower falls section is steep with severe drop offs. Unlike the other trails where you can ride bicycles, the Butte Creek Falls Trail is for hiking only. This fairly easy trail, winds its way through a forest stand of 100-year-old Douglas-fir and hemlock trees. The claim to fame of the Butte Creek Falls Trail is the spectacular view of two waterfalls – Upper and Lower Butte Creek Falls.

From Silverton, take Hwy. 213 north to Scotts Mills Road and turn east. Drive through Scotts Mills until you reach Crooked Finger Road, then turn right. Continue 9.6 miles to the end of pavement, then 2 miles over gravel road to CF 400 Road (which tends not to be marked, so watch your odometer,) then turn left. Travel 2 miles down this route to the Butte Creek Falls Trailhead, with parking and a restroom.

Rating – Easy. Distance -Less than a mile.

Remember to bring along water, a snack and a first-aid kit for a hike. Always wear good shoes and proper clothing. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.

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