November 17, 2007

Horsetail Falls to Triple Falls

Location: Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 700 ft.

It was raining the entire time we were on this hike. The first quarter mile of the hike is a steep section with switchbacks and a recent storm had caused rock slides down the entire hillside. The path had been wiped out in a few spots, and sometimes you had to climb over a lot of rock debris to keep going. Once we were past the uphill portion, the rest of the way was in good shape. We had a lot of rain the week before and the water levels were very high. The waterfalls were in full force and the Oneonta Gorge had wild rapids running through it. The first waterfall is Horsetail Falls, visible from the Old Columbia River Highway. Ponytail Falls is next, and the path goes behind the waterfall in a rock grotto that has been carved out. After going up a bit and then away from the highway, Oneonta Falls is a waterfall you can hear but it is only partially visible from the path. The Oneonta Gorge is a narrow slot canyon that drains the creek into the Columbia River. Triple Falls was our final destination and it had so much water running through it that it was almost Double Falls instead. It will be interesting to see what the area looks like when the water is at normal levels. We really enjoyed hiking in the rain… there were low clouds in the mountains around us which made everything look other-worldly.

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