Four (or is it six?) waterfalls in a day hike, with a nice area to stop and rest and picnic at the top of the trail...
Year round, though likely treacherous (and overall much less fun) in wet weather.
This is a good day length hike for five year olds+, with a really beautiful place to stop and relax half way, just past the summit of Triple Falls. Yes, I said day length, based on my experience that an average hiking speed with small children is just 1mph. You can choose to make this a loop rather than an out-and-back by returning down the creek to the Oneonta Gorge Trailhead and walking back along the road, though I am rather more fearful of the road than the trail.
Either way, you’ll start uphill fairly steeply from the parking lot, then turn right at the T-junction to get to Ponytail Falls, which you can walk behind (and climb down into if you’re a teenager, apparently). The light behind the waterfall makes for great portrait shots if you have a camera with you. Continue onwards to a high bridge crossing the Oneonta Gorge; then climb steeply up via a series of switchbacks and take a left at the top to Triple Falls. Just after these falls come into view, there’s a viewpoint which looked IMHO extremely sketchy. Keep going another quarter of a mile to bridge, and find as place to rest, picnic, play nearby. There’s a lot of shallow and relatively slow moving water at the top, with rocks to scramble over, and it is rightly a popular spot for families to hang out in the summer months before turning around and heading back. Back at the foot of the trail, Horesetail Falls makes a great finale, with it’s huge pool to splash about in and cool off. Crocs / water shoes are great accessories for this trip.
If you find any factual innaccuracies in this post, please email me via richard at thingstodoinportland dot org so I can fix it for everyone. Thanks in advance!
Take I-84 East to Exit 28, turn left on to the Historic Highway and drive 5.2 miles to the signed parking area for Horsetail Falls. [Google map].
This thing to do was suggested by
60 Hikes within 60 Miles by Paul Gerard – thank you!