We discovered another great nearly five mile hike near Portland, the Ponytail Falls Loop Hike. This trail is off of Historic Highway 30 in the scenic Columbia River Gorge. The trailhead begins at the Horsetail Falls parking area so we were treated to a fabulous waterfall at the very beginning of the hike. Horsetail Falls drops nearly straight down into a clear pool of water. Not only is the waterfall worth checking out, the rockwork on this trailhead is meticulously crafted.
Our hike took us to three waterfalls with the base of Horsetail Falls being the first and closest one. The trail started off relatively flat as we paralleled Highway 30. Then we began its straight uphill climb as is typical of all the hikes in the Columbia Gorge. Once we entered a canyon we hiked beside the creek until we came to Upper Horsetail Falls. After we took in the beauty of this waterfall we continued on the trail and gradually climbed into another canyon where we found the Middle and Upper Oneonta Falls. Tucked back into a tight canyon this is a very pretty waterfall.
We could have returned back to Highway 30 after hiking to these falls but another falls is further up an in/out trail, not a loop, so we headed south on this trial for a good while until we came to a very beautiful waterfall known as Triple Falls. The hike to the falls varied between flat stretches and steep climbing stretches making for a good cardio-vascular workout. The treat at the end was not just one or two waterfalls but has three equally beautiful waterfalls each beside the other. What a treat to the eyes they presented… With all the Maple trees in the vicinity of Triple Falls we could only imagine the beauty it must be when the leaves have changed into their autumnal colors.
After enjoying Triple Falls it was time for our return trip back to Horsetail Falls Trailhead so we began the several mile descent to the road. The trail actually ended west of the trailhead so we had to work our way back along the skinny historic highway. After the long hike we headed over to Thunder Island check it out. The Cascade Locks are on the island so we stopped to walk out to the locks and explore Thunder Island a bit. Conveniently for us there is also the Thunder Island Brewing Company there so we just had to stop in and have a nice crafted beverage after the tiring hike. . Not only were their beers very good, the outdoor seating next to the Columbia River offered great views of large ships navigating the waters of the river. What a great day!