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3.8 / 5
30 votes
Outdoors & Recreation

Oneonta Gorge

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Columbia Gorge, Cascade Locks, Oregon 97014 USA

  • Other Outdoor Place
  • River
  • Swim Spot
  • Natural Feature
  • Hiking Area

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This is a truly unique hike, unlike any other. Wade through a river, which varies in depth depending on the time of year...the river is the trail!

The Oneonta Gorge is in the Columbia River Gorge in the state of Oregon. The U.S. Forest Service has designated it as a botanical area because of the unique aquatic and woodland plants that grow there. The basalt walls are home to a wide variety of ferns, mosses, hepatics and lichens, many of which grow only in the Columbia River Gorge.

Oneonta Creek runs through the gorge. There are four major waterfalls on the creek. Middle Oneonta Falls can be seen clearly from a footpath and is very often mistaken for the upper or lower falls. The lower gorge has been preserved as a natural habitat, so there is no boardwalk or footpath through it as such. Thus, Lower Oneonta Falls can only be seen by walking upstream from the creek's outlet at the Historic Columbia River Highway. To get to a vantage point where the entire lower falls is visible can require wading through water that in some places can be chest-deep, depending on the season and the relative amount of snow-melt. The upper falls are about 1 mile upstream from the middle falls and require scrambling up the creek or climbing down a canyon wall to view. The fourth falls which is "Triple falls" can be seen from a vantage point on the upper trails in the canyon.

The Oneonta Gorge was first photographed by Carleton Emmons Watkins, a native of Oneonta, New York, who had traveled west during the time of California Gold Rush of 1849. Watkins named the Oneonta Falls after his hometown.

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Rated 5.0 August 29, 2014

I'm dying to go here! Apparently the gorge is not accessible by trail. Rather you must walk up the creek bed, over a large and perhaps unstable log jam, through the gorge, and up to your waist (or even torso depending on your height and the time of year) in water until you finally see your prize.

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Rated 5.0 August 12, 2014


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Rated 5.0 August 19, 2016

This very short hike was great fun! Flip flops won't cut it and make sure you have good water protection for your phones and cameras since we had to walk through at least 4ft deep water in addition to the Jaeger log jam. We were there around 9am and parking was nearly full. It's a mini-adventure.

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July 21, 2016

Hiking up the Oneonta Gorge was a fun adventure!! I read that it was an easy hike; that isn't true. The hike requires climbing over a log jam and wading through cold water. Proper shoes are a must and only bring with you what is necessary. The hike itself is fun, but the reward is seeing the falls at the end.

Go as early as you can, because it gets a bit crowded.

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Rated 5.0 June 25, 2016

Definitely one of my favorite places, gorgeous all the way till the main event. Fun, not too long, cold water, and a beautiful ending.

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Rated 5.0 May 5, 2016

The water is really cold and the log jam takes some skill to get over, but the amazing views are well worth it! This place is a must see!

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Rated 3.0 May 5, 2016

It's a popular place. There's a lot of people wanting to take the plunge into freezing natural waters. It's an obstacle course to get there, rocks, logs, knee high and chest high water. But it is a beautiful trail and sight.

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Rated 5.0 February 25, 2016

Be prepared with good water shoes and waterproof your supplies and camera-- or don't bring them at all. You'll have to climb over logs and stuff, but it's so worth it.

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Rated 5.0 July 30, 2015

Great place to hike and explore. It was totally worth the hike.

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June 17, 2015

Located in the Columbia River Gorge, one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, Oneonta Gorge provides a truly unique hiking experience. Comprised of four waterfalls (Lower Falls, Middle Falls, Upper Falls and Triple Falls), what makes the hike memorable is how hikers gain access to Lower Oneonta Falls. To get there, hikers must wade upstream from the creek's outlet. Depending on the season, water can be shallow or waist-deep. Check out the Oneonta Gorge featured in this video. 

Read full article here
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Rated 4.0 November 6, 2014

Need to have proper shoes and clothing to go over the logs. What I did see was worth the stop.

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