Photography and photojournalism in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest

Off the Oneonta Trail

I went for an early morning scramble up the rock walls of Oneonta Creek in the Columbia River Gorge and found what’s shown in the photo above. That was only the beginning of a long morning spent a half-mile upstream of the famous Oneonta Gorge and the Lower Oneonta Falls.

Instead, I headed to the Upper Oneonta Falls, which you really have to work to find. It’s not far off the established Forest Service trails, but it’s rugged enough that most people probably don’t think of coming up this way. You have to work your way around a number of fairly deep pools like the one above. During periods of high water flow, I don’t think it would be passable for lengthy stretches. Now, however, it’s the end of August and water levels are about as low as they’re going to get in the Gorge.

The pool above is probably six to eight feet deep in the middle, so wading through it wasn’t really an option. I had to crawl on the 45-degree basalt rock walls at the edge of the pool instead. But it wasn’t too steep to prevent me from setting up the tripod for a series of shots.

And all this before reaching Upper Oneonta Falls. I’ll show you what that looks like in the next post.


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