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...
This trail is currently closed in the wake of the 2017 wildfires. Restoration is in progress.
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!