The amazing Oneonta Gorge

The Oneonta Gorge was one of the places on my list to check out during my trip to Oregon. After doing my research of the area, the images I saw online were intriguing and what I would call typical of Columbia River Gorge.  The gorge appeared to be a much smaller version of the canyon at Zion National Park but covered in moss and ferns. There are a total of 4 falls on the Oneonta Creek which dumps into the Columbia River. The lower falls is located just over 1/2 mile upstream from the parking area along the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway. From the road, you go down a short set of steps and start your journey upstream. Not too far along, you come across about a 20′ pile of dead fall trees that you need to climb over. Not too difficult of a climb but can look intimidating. Once you are over the trees, you are moving upstream in the Oneonta Creek. There are some areas where you can find some dry area to move along, but eventually you are going to get wet. To make it all the way to the lower falls, you need to trek through some water that is over 5′ deep. It lasts for about 10-15 feet of the journey and there is no way to avoid it. Even in mid July, the water was ICE COLD and took my breath away. That is the price you pay to make it to see this massive 100′ waterfall first hand. Most of the way to the lower falls you are in a deep chasm that is covered in moss and ferns from the top to bottom. It is really an amazing place and one of my top hikes while I was visiting Oregon. The middle & upper falls are accessible from the #400 hiking trail that starts from a nearby second parking area just to the west of where you park to hike directly up the creek. When you are on the trail, there is a point where you can drop off the main trail and go onto #438 Horsetail Falls trail. This will take you down towards the creek and had a short bridge that crosses over heading east. Before crossing the bridge, you can climb down on the south side down to the creek and wade through some water south. At this point, you will be at the top of the lower falls. Turning around and going back upstream a short distance will put you right in front of the middle falls. This was another beautiful location surrounded by moss covered rocks all around the 20′ plume of water. I decided to shoot that falls in a panoramic format to help capture some of the amazing plant life along the creek. If you head further up the #400 trail you will come across Triple falls, the 4th falls along the creek. This falls you view from across the gorge. It is another beautiful 100′ or higher falls. The view of this falls is from a higher elevation about 100 yards away but it is still an amazing site. Here are two shots from this hike. Hope you enjoy…

Lower Oneonta Falls, Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area © Rob Loughrey
Lower Oneonta Falls, Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area © Rob Loughrey
Middle Oneonta Falls, Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area © Rob Loughrey
Middle Oneonta Falls, Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area © Rob Loughrey