Great Oregon Hikes, Oneonta Gorge Hike

 Oneonta Gorge Hike!

Okay, so the Oneonta Gorge hike isn’t really a “hike.”  I’d call it more of a “scramble & a wade.”  Wading waist-deep through freezing ass water, that is!  Which is why Oneonta Gorge is perfect for hot summer days, & it will be accordingly busy.  I would never attempt this “hike” on a winter’s day unless you’re an absolute masochist & want to freeze your balls off.  

Okay!  So that said, on the hottest Portland days, Oneonta is wonderful.  It always seems to be cool throughout the Gorge’s narrow walls, & of course, the water will cool you down instantly.  Here’s what the Oneonta Gorge hike entails: it’s flat the whole way, so no worries about incline.  What you will need to do though, is scramble over a massive jam of huge logs: this is where my dog, Dylan, gave me a look like, “NO WAY, Mom ~ hell no!”  You also have to wait in (usually) a long line of people waiting to get up & over the logs.  If your dog is extremely plucky & has no problem leaping, swimming, & balancing on crazy logs high up in the air ~ then by all means, bring your dog.  Otherwise, leave Fido at home on this one.  (Dylan went back to the car, much to his relief.)

Once you get past the big log jam, you’ve got a few more scrambles ~ but the first one is by far the worst.  Mainly, you’ll be wading through massive amounts of water.  And at the end, of course, is the payoff: a gorgeous waterfall & a large pool for swimming.  If you’ve had enough of water by now, though, feel free to skip it & just enjoy the view.  

Oneonta Gorge Hike, Great Oregon Hikes

Making your way through narrow passages like this is the name of the game at Oneonta. Only with a lot more people than this.

Map to Oneonta Gorge!

Oneonta Gorge

Directions to Oneonta

Directions from Downtown Portland

Distance from Portland: 36 miles

  • Take I-84 East for 33 miles
  • Take Exit 35 onto Historic Hwy
  • In 700 feet, Turn right onto E. Historic Columbia River Hwy
  • In 0.2 miles, Turn left onto E. Historic Columbia River Hwy
  • In 1.6 miles, the destination is on your left: Oneonta Gorge

Oneonta Gorge Hike Info

  • Starting Point: Oneonta Gorge Trailhead
  • Total Hike Distance: 1.0 
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Trail is flat, but difficulty lies in scrambling over massive logs & rocks, can get slippery
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Elevation Gain: Zero
  • Pet-friendly: Not unless you have a Wonder Dog
  • Kid-friendly: Yes (active kids who like to climb)
  • Good for Trail-Running: Definitely NOT
  • Crowded: Yes, in summer
  • Best Time to Go: Summer, hot days
  • All Seasons? No, summer only 

Oneonta Gorge Hike Photos

Great Oregon Hikes, Oneonta Gorge

Scrambling over logs…she looks happy. He looks worried.

Oneonta Gorge Hikes, Great Oregon Hikes

Blurry pic ~ but shows you the massive log jam you’ll have to scramble over. This is where my dog had to turn sheer terror.

Oneonta Gorge Hikes, Great Oregon Hikes

The payoff at the end: the falls.

Oneonta Gorge Hike, Great Oregon Hikes

Other Hikes Nearby!

Since Oneonta Gorge isn’t much of a hike ~ you may be itching to get in some elevation before the day is over.  And you’re in the perfect area to do so ~ you’re literally surrounded by great hikes.  For an extensive list of Columbia Gorge hikes, including a large map of the area, click here.  But the two closest hikes to Oneonta are Horsetail Falls & Triple Falls.  Both are relatively short, & Horsetail Falls itself is extremely photogenic ~ & right off the main road.  You can literally walk from Oneonta Gorge to Horsetail Falls, right through the Oneonta Tunnel.

If you’re headed back south towards Portland, you’ll pass numerous hikes such as Multnomah Falls, Wahkeena Falls, & Angel’s Rest.  None of these are too long, & all will help you dry off after the wet Oneonta walk.  

Great Oregon Hikes, John Muir, Angel's Rest Hike

Where to Stay & Drink!

Great Oregon Hikes, Angel's Rest Hike, McMenamins

Best place to stop & get a drink? McMenamins Edgefield.

What’s better after a long hike than a cold beer?  For all Gorge hikes on the Oregon side, a great option is to stop & grab a bite to eat at McMenamins Edgefield, located in Troutdale, OR.  It’s right off I-84, & the sprawling property is vintage Oregon: there’s a hotel, the Ruby Spa, a golf course, several restaurants, brewery, big porch, & plenty of Oregon quirkiness.  Highly recommended for a stay or a drink & a meal on your way home from hiking.  And in the summer, check out their popular concert series held on the lawn. 

Get Prepared!

You’re GOING to get wet on this hike ~ there’s zero doubt about that.  So, in addition to trail runners with good tread (or some good wet/dry shoes), it would be wise to bring a cute bathing suit.  Especially if you want to swim & get some pics underneath the waterfall at the end. 

Flirty Floral Print Bikini

Light Windbreaker

Even during the summer in Portland, it’s never a bad idea to bring a light windbreaker.  Oregon weather can be unpredictable, & rain is always a possibility. 

Tie-Dye Print Bikini

Good Trail Running Shoes

The more you wear regular tennis shoes on the trail ~ the more you realize you need good trail running or hiking shoes.  You’ll get better ankle stability & have better traction, & typically are NOT white (like all my ruined Nike’s).

Colorful Rainbow Halter

Small Backpack with Water

For most hikes, you’ll need water, some snacks, sunscreen, a hat, & possibly a swimsuit ~ plus whatever else you deem essential.  Small backpacks are perfect for day hikes ~ & this one includes a 2L hydration pack for you & your pup.

Black Leaves Push-up

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles


Easily my favorite guidebook for hikes near Portland ~ it covers the Gorge, Mt. Hood, Portland, & the Oregon Coast.  Rip out pages for the hike you choose, especially on long hikes ~ or take a photo of trail directions & use as a guide.

Great Oregon Hikes, Thoreau Quote, Angel's Rest Hike
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