Features: River/Creek — Views — Waterfall — Commonly Backpacked
This trail starts at the Oneonta Trailhead on the Historic Columbia River Highway. From there it climbs up to a junction with the Gorge Trail #400, makes a sharp turn to the left (east) and continues on up past Oneonta Falls (1.3 miles from the trailhead) and then Triple Falls (1.7 miles in). This is one of the biggest draws of this hike—the view of this stunning triplet of rivulets formed where Oneonta Creek tumbles 100-135 feet.
Past Triple Falls, the #424 continues up the canyon to a crossing of Oneonta Creek and a junction with the Horsetail Creek Trail #425
, 2.75 miles from the trailhead. Fording Oneonta Creek, which may be subject to flash floods during the spring (and hence impassable), needs to be done with great caution. The creek tends to be fairly dry in late summer and fall, but even then loose, slippery, or wet rocks can be dangerous.
Immediately past its junction with the Horsetail Creek Trail #425
, the #424 starts climbing the wall of the canyon in one long and several smaller switchbacks. The trail tops out on Franklin Ridge, 5 miles from the trailhead, at a junction with the Franklin Ridge Trail #427
The #424 then continues up along the ridge, past a junction with the Multnomah Spur Trail #444, then drops into and climbs out of the upper drainage of Oneonta Creek to a junction with the Bell Creek Trail #459
, some 6.5 miles from the trailhead. Here the #424 climbs briefly south to the end of the ridge coming down from Larch Mountain, then turns southwest up this ridge. It passes a junction with the Multnomah Creek Way Trail #444 at 7.4 miles in and continues up the ridge to end at the Larch Mountain Road 0.3 miles south of the Larch Mountain Picnic Area (ample parking).
For one of the biggest views in the Columbia River Gorge, continue from the Larch Mountain parking area for another 0.3 miles along a paved trail that leads out to Sherrard Point for views of the Gorge and many of the Northwest's famous volcanoes.