Triple Falls Hike
From Oregon Hikers Field Guide
- Start point: Oneonta Trailhead
- End point: Triple Falls
- Trail Log: Trail Log
- Hike Type: Out and Back
- Distance: 3.2 miles round trip
- Elevation gain: 610 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Seasons: Year round except during winter storms
- Family Friendly: Steep dropoffs, but the trail is wide
- Backpackable: No
- Crowded: Somewhat
A landslide in late 2014 has blocked access to Triple Falls. As of February 21, 2015 trail 424 is closed at the junction with the Horsetail Falls trail #438. Check here for updates and post here when you notice that the falls are accessible again so that we can update the field guide! The Oneonta & Horsetail Falls loop is unaffected and still completely accessible. You can still access Triple Falls from the south, but you will need to backtrack uphill as the landslide area after the falls is dangerous to pass.
The hike to Triple Falls can't make up its mind if it wants to be steep or flat. It keeps going back and forth. Starting from the Oneonta Trailhead, it parallels the old highway, then suddenly switches back and gains a couple of hundred feet. Then it's flat, even downhill a bit, passing the junction where the Horsetail Falls Trail #438 heads downhill to the Middle Oneonta Falls and the 1st Oneonta Creek Bridge. From here, the trail climbs to a pair of switchbacks as it traverses high above Oneonta Falls, also known as Upper Oneonta Falls. A short, sometimes sketchy scramble path angles down to the falls from the main trail, just below the switchbacks. The main trail meanders along the side of a ridge, staying well above the creek. There's a segment of abandoned trail at a blind curve and when you come around the corner Triple Falls is in full view. Use care with kids and dogs when descending to the viewpoint - it's slick, covered with loose gravel and very exposed. Bigleaf maples and vine maples make this a beautiful hike in the autumn, specifically late October through early November.
While Triple Falls is a fine turnaround, if you have time (and energy), the trail continues at creek level for about another mile. This section of the trail is more scenic than the lower section. Beyond the junction with the Horsetail Creek Trail #425, the Oneonta Trail starts up and keeps going up to Larch Mountain.
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Guidebooks that cover this hike
- Day Hike! Columbia Gorge, by Seabury Blair, Jr.
- 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Portland, by Paul Gerald
- Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
- 35 Hiking Trails, Columbia River Gorge, by Don & Roberta Lowe
- Columbia River Gorge, 42 Scenic Hikes, by Don & Roberta Lowe
- Hiking the Columbia River Gorge - 1st and 2nd Editions, by Russ Schneider
- 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon - 3rd Edition, by William L Sullivan