Horsetail Falls & Trail (#438)

Area Status: Open
Pony Tail Falls is unique as the trail goes behind it.

Named for its characteristic form, Horsetail Falls plunges 176 feet within view of the Historic Columbia River Highway's "Waterfall Corridor." Just east of the falls is a great picnic spot to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area.

This is also a trailhead for Horsetail Falls Trail #438, a short but steep hike that passes behind the base of Upper Horsetail Falls (also called Ponytail Falls) and through a basalt overhang before leading to Oneonta Trail #424. Be aware there are steep cliffs in places, so use caution. The Horsetail Falls Trailhead is also used by a section of Gorge Trail #400.

The parking area provides accessible (ADA) parking spots, however visitors will need to cross the Historic Columbia River Highway to access the viewing area and picnic tables. See timestamp 3:58 in the video below for a glimpse of the picnic area.



For information about accessible recreation opportunities in Pacific Northwest National Forests, visit:


Sunny day tree lined parking area with a red car in the foregroud. Rainy day tree-lined parking lot Horsetail Falls parking lot - view showing exit from the road and pedestrian in white. View of the falls from the wet road on a rainy day Sign at Horsetail Falls Trailhead.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Switchbacks near the intersection with Oneonta Trail have been severely damaged by treefall. Bypass with caution. (2/22/24)
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: Cascade Locks, OR; Troutdale, OR
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

General Information


Horsetail Falls Trailhead (area is unavailable) is located 2.75 miles east of Multnomah Falls on the Historic Columbia River Highway.

From Portland, OR: Travel east on Interstate 84 to Ainsworth Exit #35.  This way allows you to bypass traffic congestion on the historic highway near Multnomah Falls).  Follow the off ramp to the intersection with the Historic Highway and turn left (east).  Travel west on the Historic Highway approximately 1 mile to the parking area on the right (north) side.  Alternately, take Bridal Veil exit #28 but risk getting caught in Multnomah Falls congestion.

From Hood River, OR: Travel west on Interstate 84 to Ainsworth exit #35.  Travel west on the Historic Highway approximately 1 mile to the parking area on the right (north) side.



 See video


Day Hiking

A fun but steep hike which takes you behind Ponytail Falls. Not appropriate for young children due to steep drop-offs near the trail. This is also a popular loop hike when combined with Oneonta Trail #424.


Horsetail Falls Trail connects with with Oneonta Trail 424 and a network of other trails that traverse the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. Gorge Trail 400 also connects with this trail. Consult a good, up to date map when planning a backpacking trip.

Viewing Scenery

Ponytail Falls offers a unique experience.  The trail goes behind the water fall, underneath an overhang. 

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities



  Area/Length : 
1.3 miles

  Elevation : 
100' - 500'