Triple Falls Birthday Hike

Horsetail Falls to Triple Falls to Oneota Trailhead Loop
July 22nd, 2012

My birthday this year fell on a Sunday and so I thought it would be fun to celebrate by going out to lunch after church with friends and then going on a short hike in the gorge. So, a bunch of friends joined me for lunch at Sengatera–an Ethiopian place I really like that’s only a couple of blocks down the street from my church–and then a few of us went on this hike afterward. I’ve done this loop and taken photos of the scenery so many times that on this trip I mostly just took photos of the friends/family who were with me. The pictures are nothing spectacular, but the people themselves are pretty awesome. Anyway, we had a great time at lunch, enjoyed a nice hike together and finished it off with dinner back in town at Mississippi Pizza. Definitely a good birthday.

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Jelani, Phil, Mom and Holly Behind Upper Horsetail (Ponytail) Falls
Holly, Jelani, Phil and Mary Jo looking at Ponytail Falls
Holly, Mary Jo, Phil, Sam and Jelani at a Viewpoint
Waterfall by the Bridge in the Valley
Phil, Mary Jo, Jelani, Holly and Sam in front of the waterfall by the bridge
Triple Falls
Triple Falls
Phil, Holly, Jelani, Sam and Mary Jo in front of Triple Falls
The creek above the bridge above Triple Falls
The creek heading over Triple Falls looking toward the viewpoint
Sam and Phil and the bridge above Triple Falls
Holly, Mary Jo, Phil, Sam and David at the Viewpoint

After a relatively short but fairly steep climb from the Horsetail Falls trailhead you come to Ponytail Falls (or Upper Horsetail Falls). The cool thing about this spot is that the trail goes behind the falls and the view is pretty neat. This is part of the crew behind the falls. From left to right: Jelani, Phil, my mom and Holly.

I didn't get a shot from behind the falls this time, but I was just barely able to get the group and the falls in this shot from the trail just on the other side. This is definitely one of the coolest spots of the short hike.

After going briefly downhill at Ponytail Falls the trail heads up again and veers north to a section that parallels the Columbia River. This short stretch features a group of nice viewpoints where we stopped to check out the view and take some some group shots. From left to right: Holly, my mom, Phil, Sam and Jelani.

After the viewpoints the trail moves back away from the Columbia River and descends to another scenic waterfall just after a wooden foot-bridge. I'm not totally sure, but I think this is Middle Oneota Falls, a part of Oneota Creek which runs down from here into Oneota Gorge, a popular destination on the hottest days of summer as it is shaded all day long and is considerably cooler than just about anywhere else in the area.

After crossing Oneota Creek the trail heads back up and comes to a junction where you take a left to continue to Triple Falls or a right to head back to the road at the Oneota Trailhead. We took the left and followed the trail as it made its way higher and deeper into the gorge along Oneota Creek until it we reached our destination at Triple Falls. This is the scenic falls from the classic viewpoint.

Sam, Jelani and I decided to go a little farther to the top of the falls to check out the views from there. Beyond the edge of the falls there is another nice wooden bridge across the creek, and that's where we turned around. This is the view from the bridge looking up the creek.

This is looking from the bridge back toward the edge of the falls and across to the viewpoint where if you look really closely you might be able to make out my mom and Holly .

It was cool having my mom and one of my best friends from high school, Phil, on this hike along with my great friends Sam and Jelani and Holly. They've all heard me talk about each other but I think this may have been the first time they've gotten to do anything to get to know each other better.

When we were done admiring the view at Triple Falls we headed back to the road at the Oneota Trailhead. From there we walked the short stretch of the scenic highway past the entrance to Oneota Gorge and through a cool tunnel in the rock back to where we parked at Horsetail Falls to complete the loop. Jelani took this group photo on his phone back at the viewpoint and shared it with me. As I get older I am more willing to appear in a photo or two for memories sake. It was really nice getting out and seeing some great scenery and hanging out with my mom and some very good friends.