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.
Map to 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
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.
Where to Stay & Drink!
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.
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.