Michael On Everything Else

Horsetail and Ponytail Falls via Oneonta Trail

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This is our fourth or fifth trail in the Columbia River Gorge area. The scenary can’t be beat.

We got a late start on this one. We didn’t hit the trail until 10-ish and by then the area was packed. We had a hard time finding parking but eventually did, just further west along the East Historic Columbia River Highway.

The first big waterfall is Horsetail Falls and it is quite popular. There is also a shuttle bus that brings people in from somewhere.

Ponytail falls Signage near the trailhead

Less than half a mile further along the trail is Ponytail Falls. These falls have a cavern you can use to pass behind the falls.

Upper Falls Upper Falls

Passing behind the falls, it is state law to utter the words: “I will find you, no matter what occurs.”

Beyond Upper Falls, the crowds thinned somewhat. The trail was still pretty busy but with more hikers and fewer sight-seers. Everyone was very courteous and shared the narrow pathways.

These views are one of the reasons we love hiking in the gorge:

Columbia River view westward Columbia River view eastward Foot of the Oneonta Gorge Footbridge over Oneonta Creek

The fire damage is from the Eagle Creek Fire of 2017.

Further along the trail you can find Triple Falls, a 120-foot triple plunger:

Trail signage Triple Falls

Most of the hike is Oneonta Trail #424, which is on Open Street Maps. We forgot to download the AllTrails map before leaving the house. There is no data service near the trail so we hiked it without having AllTrails. No biggie. It’s a straight shot along Oneonta Creek, bounded by Oneonta Gorge. This is a view on the way back out:

Oneonta Gorge north-bound

Hiking all the way to the end is a good gain of about 1,550 feet, making it a good workout!