If Included: Hike to & behind the Ponytail falls. Once on top, A short (.8 mile RT, moderate 30-45 minute) hike leads to Ponytail Falls (1/4 mile further from the top), where a path cuts behind the water, providing a backside view of the spray and a cool spot to linger on a summer day. To the left is the trail to the top of the falls, a few switchbacks and a short hike.
Extended Hikes: (Trailhead Release Required)
Keep hiking to Ponytail falls (3/4 hour RT) and Triple Falls (3-4 hours RT). Release Form Required.
HORSETAIL FALLS - The Hike
The Ponytail Falls Hike: Access Horsetail Falls Trail #438 to the left of Horsetail Falls. After 0.2 mi. go right on Gorge Trail #400. In 0.2 mi., you will reach Ponytail Falls. The trail actually goes into a cavern behind the Falls. You can see the basalt layer at the top, covering a softer dirt layer that has now washed out creating the cavern. This is very typical of many of the falls downstream of the lava flows.
Ponytail Falls is a plunge falls on Horsetail Creek and is 125’ high, and looks like, well, a ponytail.
DO NOT go past these falls without signing the Trailhead Release.
UPPER ONEONTA FALLS
The Hike: Continue on the Gorge Trail for 0.8 mi. where we descend switchbacks to a metal footbridge above Oneonta Falls on Oneonta creek. Look to the right for a view down Oneonta Gorge.
Upper Oneonta Falls is a horsetail falls on Oneonta Creek and drops 75’ feet. The name is probably associated with the city in New York State. A side-wheel steamboat named the Oneonta was built at Cascade Locks in 1866. The Oregon Stream Navigation Company operated it until 1877. It’s likely that the Creek and Gorge were named after the steamboat was constructed and that the naming resulted from an incident connected with the boat.
The Hike: Continue climbing on the Gorge Trail for a short distance. Turn left at the intersection with the Oneonta Trail. The trail is pretty steep so we will go a comfortable pace. At about 0.9 miles we will arrive at a high point overlooking the Falls. There is a small steep trail going off to the left. Pass this by. Bypass another trail going to the left. Go a few feet further and take the better trail to the left to look at the Falls. Please don't go too near the edge. After we have finished looking/photographing the Falls, continue on and go across the (New!) bridge beyond the top of the Falls, then turn left and descend along the stream to where we will have a snack or lunch. Backtrack about 2.2 mi. on the same trails to the base of Horsetail Falls.
Triple Falls is a segmented falls on Oneonta Creek. The three rivulets drop 135’ feet. The name is obvious.