Horsetail Falls

  • Region: Columbia Gorge
  • Length: 2.2 miles
  • Min Elev: 150 ft
  • Max Elev: 1968 ft
  • Season: All Year

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From I-84, take exit 35 and follow it west, past Ainsworth State Park, to a parking lot beside Horsetail Falls. Park the car in the parking lot, and you're ready to go!

Trail Description

The trail starts out right next to Horsetail falls and starts
switchbacking up the side of the hill. Once at top, the trail levels out and turns back to the creek, where it soon plunges over a rock cliff; Ponytail Falls. The trail then continues through the cavern behind the falls, and is an awesome placeto sit, especially on a hot summer day. A short distance past Ponytail Falls a half-mile trail leads off to the right for a view of the Gorge (Be careful. It is unfenced and a long ways down!).

Just before reaching the Oneonta Trail, the trail pases over another small waterfall. Immediately downstream from the bridge Oneonta Creek plunges into a narrow canyon, which can be explored from the old highway. This is a good late summer trek, when the waterlevels are low, and the cool water will be a welcomed relief from the hot summer air. After crossing Oneonta Creek, the trailmeets the Oneonta Trail. Take a left, and hike for a mile to Triple Falls. The trail crosses above the falls on a nice wooden bridge with a little campsite on the left side of the trail. This makes a nice place to turn around, but the trail continues through the dense forest, eventually reaching Larch Mountain.

For those returning to their cars, turn back on the Oneonta Trail, and follow it to it's origin along side the old highway. A half mile trek along-side the road is required to return to the parking lot alongside Horsetail Falls, but access to the impressive Oneonta Gorge and views up the chasm makes the road walk somewhat worthwile.


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A terrific hike to Triple Falls. It's a shame that the bridge is gone. It looked like it was in perfect condition the last time I did this trail.

The bridge above Triple Falls has been washed out (or removed),so currently the trail ends above Triple Falls. You can continue if you want to ford the creek (doesn't look too bad). You may also be able to scout around for a good crossing up creek, although some pretty rough scampering may be required to find a good place to do that.

Just did the hike today, and it was great. Was able to do the hike before the heavy rain hit at 3:00, and the sun was out for most of the day. The fall colors were great, and the waterfalls were running hard. I made it up to the Larch Mountain Cutoff Trail (on top of of the ridge). There are good views of the Oneonta Creek Valley with a mix of yellow maple trees mixed in with the usual doug fir. There are also limited views back towards the Columbia River and I could see the rocky top of Mt Defiance at the top of the ridge. Forest Service Crews were replacing the upper bridge, a mile or so past Triple Falls. I think I was the first hiker across, and I must say they did a good job...thanks for keeping our trails in good shape!

It is one of the most enjoyable hikes I have ever been on...and fairly easy also. My family was travelling on vacation and most of us did the hike with our sandles on. The falls are very beautiful. make sure to bring a camera!

Scenery: 4

Difficulty: 1

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