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Ponytail Falls Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

Ponytail Falls (Steve Hart)
Hamilton Mountain and Beacon Rock from the trail to Ponytail Falls (Jeff Statt)
Stonework at Horsetail Falls (Jeff Statt)
  • Start point: Horsetail Falls TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Ponytail Falls
  • Trail Log : Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 0.8 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 360 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Year-round except during winter storms
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Hike Description

This is the easiest waterfall hike in the gorge. You get a stunning waterfall at the trailhead and a second one less than half a mile up the trail.

The trail begins in one of the most scenic trailheads anywhere, at Horsetail Falls. Plan on a bit of time before or after you hike to view and photograph the falls. Horsetail Falls Trail #438 begins climbing some easily graded switchbacks with beautiful rock walls. You'll pass your first trail junction here, as Gorge Trail #400 heads east. After 5 switchbacks the trail levels out, and heads west for a bit high above the Gorge below. After 4/10 of a mile, the trail suddenly turns into the small valley containing Ponytail Falls. In literally a few steps, you leave the modern freeway noise and enter a different world. The trail passes behind Ponytail Falls in a cavernous area eroded beneath a lava flow. Bigleaf maples and vine maples make this a beautiful hike in the autumn, specifically late October through early November.

There are other hikes than can be added to this one, as well. Check out Horsetail Falls Loop Hike and Triple Falls Hike

Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Nothing required

Trip Reports

  • [1] Ponytail Falls)

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 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

More Links

Contributors

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.