Oneonta Gorge – (near) Portland, OR

Updated January 24, 2022

This area is still closed due to a careless human started forest fire. They are trying to clean it up and wait for nature to take its course so it is safe for exploring. Check local websites before you go, but definitely add to your future Oregon bucket list as it is beautiful. While it will be different with the scars left from the forest fire, it will still be beautiful. It’s just another reminder why we as humans need to be smarter and more respectful of nature.

August 9, 2016

So before we actually made it to the gorge, we read some bad information and parked at Bridal Falls.  From there it was just a mile.

I was very persistent about being able to see the gorge.  I kept telling Kevin it was only a mile away and we were so close.  He was a trooper. We didn’t dress to go on a hike, or have the shoes we should have had on.  I had him wandering around for 5 miles uphill before I was like, okay let’s go and come back another day. The great thing about this lifestyle is that it is okay if you don’t see something or you miss it.  You just come back another day or extend your trip!

So this little detour was still worth it!

The first stop you come to is this perfect swim hole at the bottom of the waterfall.  There is a place to sit under along the path or down by the water.



When you reach the bridge you have made it to the top of the water fall that flows into the gorge. There were some kids cliff jumping here and there is a fun walk if you go one way and the other you can look down onto the gorge, but cannot get down there.


I think Kevin would have been okay with not going back, but I was really stubborn about it and so a couple days later we were finally successful with better research! \

Take 84 east from Portland and get off to drive on the Historic Columbia River Highway.  (If you take directions to get to Multnomah Falls you need to keep going east and if you follow directions to Bridal Veil Falls you need to go west) It is a beautiful drive.  You drive by Multnomah Falls and we realized that we should have just done that. It was crowded and the parking lot was full so we had to take a shuttle when we went. The view from the top is beautiful but you don’t get a chance to enjoy it or see it without hundreds of heads in your way.

The Columbia River Highway is a winding road through tall trees covered in moss.


You need to park near this pedestrian tunnel. We did’t drive far enough down the road to reach it the first time.


You can make it down to the gorge on either side, but across the bridge there is a staircase.


This is not friendly for people who are not sturdy on their feet. You have to crawl over the dam which is made up of large slippery logs. Your balance will be tested! For us it was quite fun, but it isn’t forgiving!


The best part about this is you have to walk through the river. You have to take your chances that it will be ankle, knee, waist or chest deep! The first view made us feel like we were in some mythical movie.



Crystal clear water, which made it easier for me to walk through, showcased the colorful rocks and fish that were there.


Then be prepared to have your breath taken away.


Be prepared to swim to get to the waterfall! The walk is only about a three quarters of a mile, but you end at a beautiful waterfall.


It was worth it, it was worth driving out of our way twice to see it. It felt like Buckskin Gulch in Utah and if it was a longer hike, it would have tied for best hike on the trip so far. Even though it wasn’t that long and a cloudy day, we still were there for a couple hours. It felt like a different place every step you took. The high cliffs covered in moss looked different depending on how the sun was positioned and there were not that many people there that day since it wasn’t hot. I recommend this to anyone. Walking through the river made it that much more exciting. We missed the Narrows in Zion so we were happy this one worked out.

This place just makes you happy to be alive, it humbles you because you realize how small we actually are in this world, and lucky to have the freedom to see this.


One thought on “Oneonta Gorge – (near) Portland, OR

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s