Ponytail Falls (Upper Horsetail Falls)

Columbia River Gorge / Portland, Oregon, USA

About Ponytail Falls (Upper Horsetail Falls)

Hiking Distance: 0.8 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

Date first visited: 2009-03-30
Date last visited: 2009-03-30

Waterfall Latitude: 45.58857
Waterfall Longitude: -122.06756

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Ponytail Falls was kind of like a “Mini Me” version of Horsetail Falls. That was because this waterfall also featured the strange hourglass shape and dual chute profile when viewed from its left side. In fact, I’ve seen some people refer to this waterfall as the Upper Horsetail Falls. In any case, what this waterfall had that its bigger brother didn’t was that we were able to safely walk behind it.

Another distinct feature about this waterfall was that it was flanked by protruding rounded cliff formations (undoubtedly produced from volcanism) giving an appearance as if there were a pair of foreheads on either side of the falls.

Although there were a few options with which we were able to combine a visit to this waterfall with other waterfalls, we did the most straightforward route, which meant we started at the Horsetail Falls car park and hiked uphill to Ponytail Falls. This was the shortest trail connecting the two falls and it was about 0.4 miles each way (0.8 miles round trip). The trail itself continued to go behind the falls and kept on going for another mile or so as it hooked up with the Oneonta Trail.

Although we didn’t do it, we could’ve very easily turned this out-and-back into a loop hike where we could have picked up the Oneonta Trail and headed back towards the Historic Columbia River Highway, then walk back towards the Horsetail Falls trailhead along the road. The loop hike was said to be 2.5 miles.

Columbia_River_Gorge_239_03302009 - Trail climbing above Horsetail Falls
Columbia_River_Gorge_243_03302009 - Trail climbing even higher
Columbia_River_Gorge_244_03302009 - Looking out towards the Columbia River Gorge from the upper parts of the Ponytail Falls Trail
Columbia_River_Gorge_249_03302009 - Our first look at Ponytail Falls
Columbia_River_Gorge_251_03302009 - Julie approaching Ponytail Falls looking very much like a smaller version of Horsetail Falls
Columbia_River_Gorge_261_03302009 - Getting closer to the Ponytail Falls
Columbia_River_Gorge_272_03302009 - Looking directly out from behind Ponytail Falls
Columbia_River_Gorge_291_03302009 - Julie heading back towards the trailhead and approaching Ponytail Falls again


This waterfall shares the same car park as Horsetail Falls, which is 2.5 miles east of Multnomah Falls along the Old Scenic Hwy (Historic Columbia Gorge Hwy).

For context, the trailhead was about 32 miles (45 minutes drive) east of Portland and 30 miles (30 minutes drive) west of Hood River or 11 miles (15 minutes drive) west of Cascade Locks.

Bottom up sweep from the trail showing this falls really is like a mini-me version of Horsetail Falls

Looking out from behind the waterfall

View of the falls from the opposite side

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Tagged with: columbia river gorge, portland, multnomah, oregon, waterfall, pacific northwest, mt hood, mount hood, horsetail falls

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