Abiqua Creek, Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-III (for normal flows)|
|BUTTE CREEK AT MONITOR, OR|
|usgs-14201500||400 - 1500 cfs||II-III||00h17m||15.8 cfs (too low)|
A delightful class II-III run that starts at the base of 101 foot Abiqua Falls. Getting up to the base of the falls takes an extra 20 minutes and you don't have to go all the way up there, but it's worth it. The headwaters are in good shape so the water quality is sparkling clear, even after significant rains, which is what you will need to have enough water in the creek.
Typical of Pacific Northwest streams there will definitely be some wood obstacles. In 2017 we made 2 portages for wood, and several times a careful choice of channel was key to avoid dangerous log jams. Do not float into anything that you can't see a way out of. With that said, it was quite enjoyable and definitely not class II.
The beginning of the run starts continuous technical class II+. There are lulls, but some of the rapids are quite long. It gains water along the way and some sections are intense enough at 1000 cfs to rate a III or more at higher flows. Midway in the run is a ledge which with enough water would form a serious hole. Toward the bottom of the run there is a fantastic surfing wave with good eddy service and there are several long rapids with class III challenge. If you drive upstream from the takeout bridge you can scout a couple of the final rapids to get a sense of it, but the road along the river does not connect.
The bottom two miles of the run are accessible from the riverside road and include the good surfing wave and other enjoyable play features. Around 1000-1200 cfs this would be a fun play run with a bike shuttle.
The reason the full run isn't more often done, aside from the (untrue) class II rating, is the length and challenge of the shuttle. To get to the put-in from the takeout you must drive back to Butte creek and up the ridge between the two drainages, then cross the ridge and descent into Abiqua. The descent to the put-in has one steep and rutted section that requires clearance and depending on erosion could require four wheel drive. The pullout where you begin your hike is non-obvious. The hike from the road to the base on the falls is steep and it really helps if you know where you are going ahead of time. The shuttle is long enough that folks waiting at the takeout will be there for well over an hour.
The section downstream from this looks to be mostly class I but it has a dangerous dam on it that does not appear to have a reasonable portage option. Not recommended.
Abiqua Falls (at the put-in) has been run injury free at
flows over 1,000 cfs.
This individual demonstrates how not to do it: view video
Drone footage of the falls: https://youtu.be/a1M0lTaq9oU
No permit required.