Photo by Greg Lief

Oneonta Gorge

  • Region: Columbia Gorge
  • Length: 0.5 miles
  • Min Elev: not rated
  • Max Elev: not rated
  • Season: Summer/Fall

Scenery: 4.5

Difficulty: 3

rate this hike

Submitted By:

Joe Swank


I-84 east from portland and on the old columbia highway just east of multnomah falls.

Trail Description

This hike is more of a swim. Oneonta gorge is a slot canyon with an impressive waterfall at the end. The beauty is the sheer cliff walls seen looming over you the entire way in. The strem spans from canyon wall to canyon wall, and while only ankle deep in most places, it does get up to your waist even in dry seasons so be prepared to get wet.
It lies right next to the freeway yet once you go just a few feet into this gorge you feel like you are in a different world!
Probably the best time of day is around noon when the sun actually slants into the gap high above you. There is also an oneonta trail that takes you up above the canyon but there is no substitute for actually trudging your way up to the hidden pool and waterfall at the end of the canyon.
Makes a great side trip to longer day hikes in the Columbia Gorge.


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I visited this hike several years ago it is the very place I had an epiphany moment. I asked the guy I was with to pick a number he said 5 .we got married 5/5/05 which was 3 years later. So far its happily ever after.

Just did this hike & it was a lot easier & shorter than I had expected. I was kind of disappointed that it wasn't longer. It was also a bummer that it was packed! I thought it wasn't as well known since it was unmarked but even the tourists all knew about it! Parents brought their toddlers with them, some people even brought their dogs (1 big dog, 1 tiny dog). The big dog didn't have a problem scrambling the log jam but I thought the jam was kind of dangerous. One slip & you could easily fall inbetween & possibly break something or worse. It was absolutely beautiful and the water was freezing as promised.

In response to the 6/21/2005 comment, the logjam isn't moving anytime soon... it's been there for the past several years and the USFS has no plans to move it. However, it can be traversed if you are careful... it's not tremendously difficult.

As to other comments, this is to confirm that, no matter what time of year you do this hike, you should expect a waist-high soaking (and the water is ICE COLD all year long!). But it's well worth the effort... just wear flip-flops or some other suitable water footgear.

I have just recently visited the hike and it is now blocked by a log jam. I dont know if they remove them every year but it was impassable when I went.

I always take out-of-town guests here for the climax to a day in the Gorge. There's a logjam to scramble near the beginning, and count on wading ankle-deep many times back and forth in really cold water. Near the end you have to either boulder on a wet basalt face or take the plunge in waist to chest-high water for a good 20 feet. But the falls at the end makes it all worthwhile. The brave can even do a bit of swimming in the hole at the base of the falls. Especially a good hike on a really hot day in August when the water is lower. Bring bandaids for the logjam and other scrambling accidents. And for gosh sake, don't forget to load film in the camera BEFORE you go.

I did this hike at the end of September and had to hike waist high in water to get to the end. The water was a little chilly but the falls hidden in the back, was completely worth it!! The pictures don't do it any justice.

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