A Quick Adventure in Oneonta Gorge

The Columbia Gorge highway used to go through this tunnel until the late 1940s.

The Columbia Gorge highway used to go through this tunnel beside the entrance to Oneonta Gorge until the late 1940s.

Oneonta Gorge is, well, gorgeous.  I’d never done the full hike, which is like the Columbia River Gorge’s entry to canyoneering.  Hikers have to clamber over a massive log jam, then walk right in the creek to get to the destination of the waterfall.  Denise and I had been there before a few years ago, but had never ventured too far, as the season was wrong to get wet.  Today, with temps in the nineties, I was primed to try it.  It’s been hot for a while in Northwest Oregon, and a lot of people seemed to have the same idea.  I arrived at the trailhead by 10 a.m. and barely got a parking space.

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As my dear readers may know, I like my solitude, but was not worried.  I figured once people realized they were going to have to scramble over a log jam and set soaked upstream, many would turn around.  Boy, was I wrong!  Oh well.  Beyond the log jam, I was really in the bowels of the chasm.  1The walls were only 25 feet apart at a few points.    There was no solitude on this hike, but plenty of adventure and beauty.  Soon enough, I was getting quite wet, sloshing along up to the middle of my shins.  Then it got interesting.  I tried to skirt a deep pool by clambering on rocks, but to no avail. I had to get soaked up to my belly. The water was chilly at first, but not too bad.

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After traversing the narrow, deep pool, the canyon opens up a bit, then effectively dead ends in cliffs split by a good sized waterfall.  People wandered around taking selfies and group portraits.  A few waded in the deep pool below the falls.  I gawked at the canyon walls as much as anything.  What a lovely place. I could have stayed there a long time, but the crowd seemed to keep increasing, so I turned back, reveling in the beauty of Oneonta.  There’s a good reason it’s popular.

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About Josh Baker

"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” ― John Muir

Posted on July 5, 2015, in Adventure, Canyoneering, Outdoors, waterfall hikes, Waterways and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I love this hike and actually fell on that log jam a few years ago. I still have the scars on my leg to remember it by! I’ve found that a week day evening in September tends to have the crowds less, and the water warmer, although it’s always cold. So glad you finally discovered it completely!

  2. Sounds beautiful and perfect for the hot day.

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