Horsetail Falls

Experience the sheer beauty of Horsetail Falls, a majestic wonder nestled in the scenic landscapes of Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. In our upcoming blog post, we’ll lead you on an adventure to this iconic cascade, where the waters gracefully descend like a flowing mane. Join us as we uncover the hidden charms, share insider tips for a memorable visit, and delve into the rich natural history surrounding Horsetail Falls. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or a seeker of tranquility, Horsetail Falls promises an unforgettable escape into the wonders of Oregon’s wilderness.

Horsetail Falls

Near Ainsworth State Park – Dodson, OR

Nestled within the lush landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, Horsetail Falls is a captivating natural wonder that offers visitors a serene escape into nature. This enchanting waterfall, located near Ainsworth State Park in Dodson, is surrounded by dense forests, rugged terrain, and the soothing sounds of cascading water, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers, hikers, and photographers. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about visiting Horsetail Falls, including how to get there, what to expect, and tips for making the most of your adventure.

Introduction to Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls is one of the many stunning waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, with water gracefully plunging 176 feet over a rocky cliff into a serene pool below. The falls get their name from their unique shape, resembling a horse’s tail. The area around Horsetail Falls is perfect for relaxation, exploration, and photography, offering spectacular views and a peaceful atmosphere. The tranquil environment, combined with the dramatic surroundings, makes it an ideal destination for a memorable day out in nature.

Getting to Horsetail Falls

By Car

  • Location: Horsetail Falls is located near Ainsworth State Park in Dodson, OR.
  • Directions: From Portland, take I-84 East towards Dodson. Take exit 35 for Historic Columbia River Highway/Ainsworth State Park. Continue for about 2 miles, and the parking area for Horsetail Falls will be on your right.
  • Parking: There is a designated parking area at Horsetail Falls. Parking is free, but it can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons, so arriving early is advisable.

Admission and Hours

  • Admission: Entry to the area is free. There are no fees or passes required to visit Horsetail Falls.
  • Hours: The area is accessible year-round from dawn to dusk, making it perfect for visitors any time of the year. The best time to visit Horsetail Falls is during the late spring, summer, and early fall months when the weather is warm and the water flow is strong.

Exploring Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some highlights:

The Horsetail Falls Trail

  • Description: The trail to Horsetail Falls is a short, easy walk that takes you through scenic woodlands and along the banks of Horsetail Creek. The trail is approximately 0.25 miles round trip and is well-marked and maintained.
  • Highlights: The trail meanders through a beautiful forest, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the cascading water. The hike is suitable for visitors of all ages and abilities, providing a peaceful and scenic experience.

The Waterfall

  • Description: Horsetail Falls features a dramatic 176-foot drop over a rocky cliff into a clear pool below. The waterfall is particularly impressive after rainfall or during the spring melt when the water flow is strong.
  • Highlights: The viewing areas around the falls offer excellent vantage points for photography and sightseeing. The sound of the cascading water and the peaceful surroundings create a calming atmosphere perfect for relaxation.


  • Description: The area around Horsetail Falls offers several spots perfect for a relaxing picnic. Enjoy a meal surrounded by the sounds of nature and the beautiful scenery.
  • Highlights: Pack a picnic and take advantage of the serene environment. There are grassy areas and rocks where you can sit and enjoy your meal while taking in the views of the falls. Be sure to pack out all trash to help preserve the natural beauty of the area.

Tips for Visiting Horsetail Falls

  • Timing: The best time to visit is during the late spring, summer, and early fall when the weather is warm and the water flow is strong. Early mornings and weekdays are less crowded.
  • Footwear: Wear comfortable walking shoes or sandals, especially if you plan to explore the trails and rocky areas around the falls.
  • Safety: Stay on the designated paths and be cautious around the waterfall. The rocks near the falls can be slippery.
  • Hydration: Bring plenty of water, especially if you plan to hike and explore the area for an extended period.
  • Leave No Trace: Help preserve the natural beauty of Horsetail Falls by carrying out all trash and respecting the environment.

Exploring Nearby Attractions

While visiting Horsetail Falls, consider exploring other attractions in the Columbia River Gorge and the surrounding area:

Multnomah Falls:

Multnomah Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in Oregon, located a short drive away, offering more opportunities for exploration and photography.

Latourell Falls:

Latourell Falls is another beautiful waterfall located nearby, with a scenic trail leading to stunning views of the falls.

Bridal Veil Falls:

Bridal Veil Falls is a picturesque waterfall with an easy hike, offering beautiful views and peaceful surroundings.

Vista House:

Vista House is a historic building offering panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge, perfect for photography and sightseeing.

Angels Rest:

Angels Rest is a popular hiking destination with a challenging trail leading to breathtaking views of the Columbia River Gorge.


Horsetail Falls near Ainsworth State Park, Dodson, OR, is a serene and beautiful destination that showcases the natural beauty and tranquility of the Columbia River Gorge. Whether you’re capturing stunning photographs of the falls, exploring the scenic trails, or enjoying a peaceful picnic by the water, Horsetail Falls offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. Plan your visit today and immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Horsetail Falls.

Accommodations for Horsetail Falls

Accommodations for Horsetail Falls are available in the following areas
– Cascade Locks
– Portland
– Troutdale

Light rain
H: 56°F L: 49°F



Driving Directions

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