Ponytail Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, USA

Ponytail Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, USA
Ponytail Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, USA

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.



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