Middle Oneonta Falls

Columbia River Gorge / Oneonta Gorge, Oregon, USA

About Middle Oneonta Falls

Hiking Distance: 1.5 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2009-03-30
Date last visited: 2017-08-17

Waterfall Latitude: 45.58501
Waterfall Longitude: -122.07276

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Middle Oneonta Falls was one of four waterfalls on the Oneonta Creek within the Oneonta Gorge.

It got the name “middle” because there was another waterfall immediately downstream of it (called the Lower Oneonta Falls) as well one a short distance upstream, which some in the literature have called it the Upper Oneonta Falls or just Oneonta Falls.

Triple_Falls_CRG_043_08172017 - Middle Oneonta Falls as seen from the footbridge spanning its creek
Middle Oneonta Falls as seen from the footbridge spanning its creek

So far, that upper waterfall remained elusive as the only way to reach it was either an upstream stream scramble from this middle waterfall or by a sketchy steep scramble into the base of the Oneonta Gorge from the trail to the Triple Falls (the fourth and uppermost of the Oneonta Creek waterfalls).

Anyways, the middle waterfall was on the order of 20-30ft tall so it was modestly-sized and really more of an incidental attraction on the way to other larger waterfalls in the area.

I managed to reach this waterfall about 0.6 miles into the Oneonta Trail towards Triple Falls.

There was a branch in that trail that descended to the left along a couple of short switchbacks before reaching a bridge over Oneonta Creek.

Columbia_River_Gorge_308_03302009 - Middle Oneonta Falls as seen in higher early Spring flow from the footbridge over Oneonta Creek
Middle Oneonta Falls as seen in higher early Spring flow from the footbridge over Oneonta Creek

Right from that bridge was the view of the Middle Oneonta Falls.

This was the shortest approach to reach the falls.

It was also possible to hike up from Horsetail Falls, continue past Ponytail Falls, then eventually descend to this footbridge from the other side.

That hike would have been 1.2 miles one-way, where it would be 2.4 miles round trip or a 1.8-mile one-way shuttle hike ending at the Oneonta Trailhead.


Middle Oneonta Falls resides in the Oneonta Gorge section of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Columbia_River_Gorge_298_03302009 - Sign at the Oneonta Trailhead, which was the closest start to the Middle Oneonta Falls
Triple_Falls_CRG_009_08172017 - The trail junction where I had to take this ascending path to continue up into the mouth of the Oneonta Gorge
Triple_Falls_CRG_034_08172017 - This was the signpost at the trail junction where going left descended to the Middle Oneonta Falls while going right continued to Triple Falls
Triple_Falls_CRG_036_08172017 - Descending to the footbridge spanning Oneonta Creek
Triple_Falls_CRG_037_08172017 - Context of the footbridge and the Middle Oneonta Falls seen together in mid-Summer flow during my August 2017 visit
Columbia_River_Gorge_302_03302009 - The footbridge and the Middle Oneonta Falls as seen in high flow in late March 2009
Triple_Falls_CRG_038_08172017 - Looking upstream from the bridge at the Middle Oneonta Falls in context
Columbia_River_Gorge_304_03302009 - Looking beyond the footbridge towards the trail leading to Ponytail Falls
Columbia_River_Gorge_305_03302009 - Looking downstream into the Oneonta Gorge with a small logjam just above the unseen brink of the Lower Oneonta Falls in late March 2009
Triple_Falls_CRG_041_08172017 - Another look at the logjam upstream from the unseen brink of Lower Oneonta Falls as seen in August 2017

The trailheads are either for the Oneonta Trail (see the Triple Falls page for its directions) or for the car park of Horsetail Falls (see its page for directions).

For some geographical context, Portland was about 49 miles (over an hour drive) west of Cascade Locks, 75 miles (90 minutes drive) west of Hood River, 80 miles (1.5 hours drive) east of Cannon Beach, 112 miles (under 2 hours drive) north of Eugene, 274 miles (over 4 hours drive) north of Medford, 173 miles (about 2.5 hours drive) south of Seattle, Washington, 440 miles (7 hours drive) west of Boise, Idaho, and 423 miles (6.5 hours drive) north of Redding, California.

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Checking out the Middle Oneonta Falls in every way possible from the bridge

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Tagged with: columbia river gorge, oneonta, multnomah, oregon, waterfall, pacific northwest

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