If you ever find yourself at Multnomah Falls and are irritated by the large crowds, might I suggest a prettier location, not too far away? If you drive a mile or so East on the Historic Columbia River Highway you will find Horsetail Falls. There you will find a trail-head for a really easy, fun, beautiful hike that will take you to some gorgeous, of-the-beaten-path waterfalls.
This is exactly what we did yesterday. We decided to try the Columbia Gorge again, forgoing Multnomah for one of the lesser-known spots. The trail switched up a hill giving us really pretty views of the Autumn foliage along the Columbia River. The trail itself was nice and wide and very well kept. I loved the mossy wall of lava rock that lined it on the way up. The hill climbed higher and higher and my fear response to heights started to kick in slightly but, as I said, the path was wide enough to settle me a bit. we continued to wind around until we came to Ponytail Falls, otherwise known as Upper Horsetail Falls. As we hiked along we were delighted to find that the trail takes you behind the actual waterfall! How fun! You can see the picture that I took to the left.
We continued on our way around a few bends and I heard Raf laughing loudly. He shouted back to me, “Your not going to find this very comforting.” As I reached him I saw what he was talking about. It was a small placard that said,
In Memory of Glen W. Replogle. He fell from a cliff East of Horsetail Falls.
I prowled around the area, wondering whether or not this was, indeed, the cliff in which Mr. Replogle met his untimely demise. And then Rafael reminded me that I was standing on a cliff soaked with water and mud and that I should probably not stand on the edge of it. And I backed onto the main trail.
We continued on our way and found ourselves nearing Oneonta Bridge Falls. We saw a weeping cliff on the approach to it, which I thought was kind of interesting. We got down to the bridge and Raf said, You aren’t going to like this bridge, he just having crossed it before me (since he tends to wander ahead). He was kind of right because you could see right down through it and that tends to freak me out a bit (with my fear of heights and all). So I crossed the bridge without looking down and that worked just fine. When I got to the end of the bridge I managed to use it as a makeshift tripod so I could take a picture of it.
The rest of the hike was rather uneventful. Well, except for the beautiful flowers and ferns that we saw. We switched back down the hill, back to the old Columbia Highway, and walked the road to the parking lot where our car was parked. Along the way we crossed the Oneonta Gorge and found a really cool tunnel that was once part of the highway.
We had a great time! We plan to explore more of the Historic Columbia River Highway in the near future.