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Oneonta Falls

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

Oneonta Falls (Tom Kloster)

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Description

There are four waterfalls on Oneonta Creek and the names have proven difficult to pin down. The lowest falls at the head of Oneonta Gorge, is often called Oneonta Falls, but in fact that is Lower Oneonta Falls. The next one, near the Trail #438 bridge is often called Upper Oneonta Falls or Oneonta Bridge Falls. I've chosen to follow Bryan Swann's lead at Waterfalls Northwest] and I've called it Middle Oneonta Falls. The fourth falls is, of course, Triple Falls.

This is the third falls on the creek, sometimes called Upper Oneonta Falls. The USGS maps label it simply as "Oneonta Falls", so I've copied that lead here. The Oneonta Trail (#424) bypasses the falls completely and many people miss it altogether. About 1 mile from highway, just past the junction with Horsetail Falls Trail, a small use path leads down the the creek and the falls. An alternate, and less steep way to get to the base is by a path leading from the first oneonta bridge. Right before you cross the bridge, on the east side of the canyon, look for a scramble path leading up the canyon. Follow this trail (if you lose it, its a simple bushwhack) up the creek about 1/3 of a mile to the falls. You could also make a shortcut using the other path back up to the Oneonta trail, on its way to Triple Falls.

There is a large cavern eroded behind the falls similar to nearby Ponytail Falls. It's quite possible that this is the same ancient lava flow that's in evidence there. Similar creek action has eroded the softer soil from beneath the lava rock.

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Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Day Hike! Columbia Gorge, by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
  • 35 Hiking Trails, Columbia River Gorge, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Columbia River Gorge, 42 Scenic Hikes, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Hiking the Columbia River Gorge - 1st and 2nd Editions, by Russ Schneider
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon - 3rd Edition, by William L Sullivan

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Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.