How to Get to Oneonta Gorge Hike
Okay, so Oneonta Gorge isn’t really a “hike.” It’s more of a “wade & scramble.” Wading waist-deep through freezing water, that is! Which is why Oneonta Gorge is perfect for hot summer days, when temperatures in Portland become unbearable. I wouldn’t attempt this “hike” on a winter’s day unless you want to absolutely freeze your nuts off; it would be insanely cold. So let’s figure out not only how to get to Oneonta Gorge hike ~ but check out some photos of it to see what you’re really getting yourself into…
**Author’s Note: Article updated as of December 2022.
Map of Oneonta Gorge Hike
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, especially during summer
- Best Time to Go: Summer, hot days
- All Seasons? No, summer only
Oneonta Gorge Info & Photos
Now that we’ve figured out how to get to Oneonta Gorge, here’s what the “hike” is like: first off, it’s flat the whole way, so no worries about incline. What you will need to do though, is scramble over a massive pile of logs. This is where my dog, Dylan, gave me a look like, “NO WAY, Mom!!!” You’ll also need to wait in line, while the people ahead of you scramble over the logs. If your dog is very adventurous, & has no problem leaping, swimming, & balancing on crazy logs high up in the air: then by all means, bring them. Otherwise, leave them at home. Same goes for young children.
My dog Dylan went back to the car, much to his relief.
Once you get past the log jam, you’ve got a few more scrambles ~ but the first 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 & large pool for swimming. If you’ve had enough of water by now, though….feel free to skip it & just enjoy the view.
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 place to stop & get food is at the incredible McMenamins Edgefield, located in Troutdale. It’s right off I-84, & this sprawling property is vintage Oregon at its best: there’s a hotel, the Ruby Spa, a golf course, several restaurants, brewery, big porch, concert venue, & lots of Oregon quirkiness. You have to see this place for yourself: it cannot fully be explained with words. Trust me.
Great 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 spot, because 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 to Oneonta are Horsetail Falls & Triple Falls. Both are relatively short, & Horsetail Falls 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 towards Portland, you’ll pass numerous hikes such as Angel’s Rest, Multnomah Falls, & Wahkeena Falls. None of these are too long, & all will help you dry off after the wet Oneonta walk.
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), bring a cute bathing suit. Especially if you want to swim & get photos underneath the waterfall.
How to Get to Oneonta Gorge Hike
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on Oneonta. My goal is to help people get outside more & enjoy life’s adventures ~ & Oregon & the Columbia River Gorge are outstanding places for this. If you’ve got any questions about hiking here, feel free to ask me in the comments….
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