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TrailDudes Hike to Middle Oneonta Falls

Updated on May 13, 2013

Humble Beginnings

It was just a little sign with an even smaller trail at first. There was nothing showy or intimidating. There were no crowds or restaurants. There was no large viewing platform, greeting us before our ascent; not this time.

TJ introduced our second episode from a humble location near the wooden guide, and we began to climb. Instantly, we noticed the impressive green and foliage on either side. Rocks jutted out of the ground, covered in moss from top to bottom. Trees bent oddly toward the sun, and ferns blanketed the hillside.

Quick Facts

Height: ~24 feet

Trail Distance: 1.2 miles from Horsetail Falls Trailhead (to falls)

Fun Fact:

This waterfall is often mislabeled as Oneonta falls and not Middle Oneonta Falls. Also... we thought it was Horsetail Falls. In other words, it's in dire need of a name tag. The other Oneonta falls (lower and upper) suffer from similar identity difficulties.

TrailFriends and TrailSnacks

We were able to catch a family on their way down from the top, and they promised a good adventure ahead. Even the dog and baby looked as if they had a good time, and could understand the beauty of it all. The smiled at us, explaining, "This is what we live for."

As we continued to climb, we heard a faint trickle in the distance. Curious, we rushed upward to discover the sound's source: small streams of water glistening down a rock wall. We reached our hands out, and let the cool moisture drip across our skin. Together with the soothing sound and the scene, we were in awe at the perfect aesthetics of the moment.

"You can eat ferns," TJ explained as we kept hiking. We both took a leaf and chewed it up. It tasted just like salad.

"Would be good with some dressing," I commented.

Two hikers stood at a sign a ways up. They were studying it carefully, trying to chart their path. They mentioned how they loved snowshoeing and were excited to be on the hike. We parted ways as they moved up toward Triple Falls, and we to Middle Oneonta Falls.

The Falls Before Us

All that was between us and the roar of the waterfall were a few switchbacks now. Our hearts raced as we grew nearer to the fall. The mossy trees and rocks kept our eyes occupied until, around the next corner, the falls flashed white.

An impressive crevice formed from the river as it beat against the earth. The white water dropped fiercely into a perfect pool as a bridge spanned the gap. Dozens of people walked by and stared, and photographed, and pondered.We climbed in all the little gaps we could, taking pictures from every angle. We didn't want to leave. It was one of those places, the kind that can freeze you and fill you and let you smile.

On our way down we revisited the trickle fall. We took a moment, again, to stare up at the cliff and down at the expanse of the Columbia River Gorge. The camera caught us waving, as if to say "so long." We stood for a moment and remember and talked. Something about the simplicity kept us smiling. We will fondly remember the beautiful hike to Middle Oneonta Falls.

Do You Share?

How do you share and remember the hike experience?

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Have You Witnessed the Horsetail?

We saw you! You and your large group of friends crossing the one man bridge all at the same time. Did you get yelled at too like Jeff did? Did you do the loop? Were those your TrailDogs? Leave a comment below and let us read about your experience!

Video Guide to Middle Oneonta Falls

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Trickle Falls over a mossy rock wall.TJ filming the trail like only the TrailDudes can.A perfect view of Middle Oneonta Falls.Warning sign saying only one hiker allowed on the bridge at a time.A brave TrailDog getting ready to cross the wood bridge.Middle Oneonta Falls from the top.
Trickle Falls over a mossy rock wall.
Trickle Falls over a mossy rock wall.
TJ filming the trail like only the TrailDudes can.
TJ filming the trail like only the TrailDudes can.
A perfect view of Middle Oneonta Falls.
A perfect view of Middle Oneonta Falls.
Warning sign saying only one hiker allowed on the bridge at a time.
Warning sign saying only one hiker allowed on the bridge at a time.
A brave TrailDog getting ready to cross the wood bridge.
A brave TrailDog getting ready to cross the wood bridge.
Middle Oneonta Falls from the top.
Middle Oneonta Falls from the top.
Horsetail Falls, OR:
Horsetail Falls, Mt. Hood National Forest, East Historic Columbia River, OR 97014, USA

get directions

Another beautiful fall in the Columbia River Gorge.


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