Horsetail, Ponytail, & Triple Falls
Western Gorge, Oregon
Ponytail Falls (photographer: Cate Hotchkiss)
Hike Details
Type:
Out and back
Distance:
3.6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
1446 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
No
Restrooms:
Yes
Trailhead Pass:
No
Trail Details
WaterfallWaterfall

COVID-19 advisory from our partner Ready, Set, GOrge! (readysetgorge.com): 

Increased visitation puts increased pressure on the Gorge’s limited resources.  If you’re planning a trip to our region, please help keep our communities safe by following CDC and local health guidelines and respecting the requests of individual businesses. Please plan before you go and always have a Plan B in case your destination is too crowded or closed. Crowds lead to closures. When recreating on trails, maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other hikers and bikers.
 


Fire Impacts

A loop hike encompassing Horsetail, Ponytail, and Triple Falls is not currently possible. The trail is closed after Ponytail Falls due to a landslide. Access to Triple Falls is also closed. Please observe all trail closures and visit ReadySetGorge.com for updates.


Sign Up for Action Alert Texts

Find out about Gorge conservation issues and take action from your phone.

On the Trail

This hike showcases Oregon’s waterfalls in all their variety and beauty. It starts at one of the Gorge’s most scenic waterfalls, Horsetail Falls, and then passes, amazingly enough, behind another waterfall, before climbing past more falls along Oneonta Creek to beautiful Triple Falls. The total distance, out and back, is 3.6 miles, with 1,446 feet of elevation gain.

Permits & Pets

The trails along Horsetail and Oneonta creeks are managed by the U.S. Forest Service. No permits are required. Dogs must be on leash.

Trail Notes

  • Horsetail Falls on Horsetail Creek greets hikers at the very start of the trail; it’s a dramatic 214-foot drop with a pool at its base that’s a nice place to cool off after a summer hike. Begin hiking on Horsetail Falls Trail (Trail 438), which starts east of the falls.
  • The trail switchbacks up the hillside before leveling out, high above the Gorge floor.
  • In 0.4 mile, come to Ponytail Falls, where the trail passes behind the 88-foot falls in a naturally eroded cavern, offering fantastic photo opportunities.
  • Please always stay on the trail and clean your boots before and after you hike. Hikers are a common vector for spreading invasive seeds.
  • There are no restrooms at the trailhead.

Post-Hike Explorations

Combine this hike with more waterfalls and views on two hikes that start 3.6 miles to the east. From Horsetail Falls, drive east on the Historic Highway. At the on-ramp to I-84 east, veer right onto Frontage Road (an old highway remnant). Just before it re-enters I-84, turn right into the John B. Yeon trailhead parking area. Trails here lead to Elowah Falls and Upper McCord Creek Falls, both short hikes with waterfalls and views.



Directions & Travel Tips

Eastbound I-84: Take exit 28/Bridal Veil. At the top of Bridal Veil Road, turn left on the Historic Columbia River Highway and drive 5.6 miles to the parking area at Horsetail Falls.

Westbound I-84: Take exit 35/Ainsworth and drive 1.6 miles west on the Historic Highway to the parking area at Horsetail Falls. There are no restrooms at the trailhead.