A Hike to Triple Falls
Horsetail Falls viewed from
the Historic Columbia River Highway
Early in November, I enjoyed a hike to Triple Falls. I parked my car and stepped out onto the pavement. I took a picture of some mushrooms growing nearby, then walked toward the road. Across from the parking lot, Horsetail Falls cascades into a pool. No hiking is required to enjoy this falls. I took a few minutes to look at the picnic area and read the information posted at the trailhead.
Upper Horsetail Falls is also
known as Ponytail Falls
An easy, yet uphill trek brought me to Upper Horsetail Falls, also known as Ponytail Falls. The most notable feature of this falls is the roomy area behind the falls, allowing visitors to peer out through the water at the Columbia River Gorge.
Continuing along the trail there are several features to admire. A small memorial is placed near a cliffside viewpoint. “In memory of Glenn W. Replogle. He fell from a cliff east of Horsetail Falls.” Standing at this viewpoint, you can understand the warning. The view is great, but don’t step too close!
The trail soon turns southward, following Oneonta Gorge. Once you travel a bit, you can turn and look back down Oneonta Gorge, reversing the view most people see from the Historic Columbia River Highway. Dropping down several switchbacks, a bridge crosses Oneonta Creek with a view of Oneonta Falls.
After viewing the falls, continue up the other side to meet up with Oneonta Trail. Follow this trail to another cliffside view of Triple Falls. You will want to take a few minutes to enjoy this view. Take lots of pictures then follow the trail to the bridge at the top of the falls.
There seems to be water flowing from everywhere to everywhere else. It’s a great spot to stop, eat your lunch, have a cup of coffee, or just relax. I worked my way over fallen logs and large mossy rocks to the top of the falls. Reaching out with my camera, I got a few breath-taking shots. Take a look at the video below for pictures and clips of the hike.
Elevation gain: about 800ft
Difficulty (1-5): 2
Scenic Rating (1-5): 4
Distance: about 5 miles round trip