When you think of a trail, you think of a paved path that is well maintained or something that slightly resembles a trail right? Lower Oneonta Falls is neither of those when a trail comes to mind. It is a creek, yes, the creek is the trail to the falls, Well it looks like you get to trek through water upstream that is waist deep and some points and ice-cold. Only one way in,only one way out. Suck it up. It is well worth the reward which is half way there but you still have to come back.
Lower Oneonta Falls is part of the protected Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area that offers plenty of things to do and see, more than a handful of hiking trails, and witness many waterfalls along the 80 miles stretch of the river canyon just east of Portland, Oregon. A nature-lovers paradise. There are 4 waterfalls in Oneonta Gorge. Lower, middle,upper, and triple falls. All which are accessible where you park. On our way to park before our hike, you pass a couple other waterfalls that are very popular as well but I wont mention them because ill be writing about them in the near future.
Hiking this incredibly beautiful slot canyon like gorge is something out of this world. 100 foot canyon basalt walls lined with the ever so green ferns, mosses, lichens, and hepatics. The start of the hike is easy as you walk down from the bridge and then you encounter a massive log jam where you have to maneuver over and under logs and branches that have been jammed due to flash floods many years ago. After that fun obstacle, its time to get wet. A few parts of the hike you will be waist deep in water unless you are some sort of ninja that can spider man the shit out of the side of the canyon walls. (I dare you to not get wet) Take your time and soak in the views, water so clear you are able to see the little fish swimming around. At roughly 0.3 miles into the hike you will come to the end where the stunning waterfall roars down into the pool before where you are able to take a dip, swim, and you guessed it, selfie time.
If you want your solitude, come early. We arrived around 9am or so and ran into a handful of people. Not too shabby. On the way back as we were finishing, the parking lot was full and families and kids were all over the place causing a ruckus. If you don't mind that, then join the party, be patient, and wait in line for that selfie. I prefer solitude and that peacefulness in my opinion.
- Visit in the summer - the water is already cold in the summer. Just imagine your private parts would suck up into your body in the winter months. Ya, think about it.
- Visit on a weekday - We all know that the weekends are busier.
- Bring Trekking Poles - save yourself from busting your shit open from a rock you slipped on.
- Wear Clothes you expect to get wet and bring an extra set of dry clothes to change into afterwards. Maybe a snack as well
- Waterproof Case for your cellphone or if you are cheap (don't blame you, those cases are stupid expensive) then bring plastic baggies to protect your electronics. You do not want to forget your camera for this trip.
- Water shoes are encouraged - You are hiking through water here, come on.
- Make sure your camera is working properly before starting - I learned this the hard way when I had my go pro running time lapse and when i came back to upload my photos every single was blurry except the single photos I took. Over a couple hundred photos wasted