Support Us Button Widget

Hike of the Month: Ramona Falls

This long yet not-too-arduous trek requires an intrepid spirit, but the reward is well worth it.

Ramona Falls, a 120-ft horstail falls, cascades in rivulets down a basalt column cliff.

From the wooden bridge, you can feel the mist on your face.

Photo by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

Over the river and through the woods, to Ramona Falls we go. The magic of Mt. Hood National Forest was on full display for this hike; we followed the footsteps of a fabled path to a mystical grove where croaking ravens eyed our lunch and a prince successfully wooed a princess (congrats to the happy couple on your engagement).

In all seriousness, this adventure is one for the storybooks.

Quick facts

  • Starting point: Ramona Falls Trailhead
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Route type: Lollipop loop
  • Elevation gain: 1,000 ft
  • Trail surface: Dirt
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Open: Gate is closed Dec. 1-April 1
  • Dog friendly: Yes, on leash
Alternating images show scenes from the Ramona Falls hike, including people crossing a river on a log, pink rhododendrons, a raven, and other beautiful nature scenes.

Although the large log was stable, use extreme caution when crossing — the terrain can shift.

Photos by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

Brief overview

Your blood gets pumping early in this adventure along the Sandy River, which tumbles from its glacial origins on the slopes of Mount Hood. As you gradually gain elevation, the depth and width of the canyon grow, eventually opening up for you to cross either by safely fording the rushing water or shimmying on a log. Your ultimate reward is Ramona Falls, a beautiful horsetail deluge that spreads out over a 120-ft drop, cascading in rivulets over the moss-laden columnar basalt cliff.

Why you should try it

Biomes change in the blink of an eye here. One minute you’ll be strolling through red alder sprouting from the flat riverbank, the next you’ll be in the shade of Douglas firs, where pops of pink rhododendrons greet your every turn. Our suggested loop direction is counterclockwise; you’ll climb with the canyon on your right (on the Pacific Crest Trail, no less) and descend the Ramona Creek ravine.

Two hikers march through a forest.

Be sure to fill out the free self-issue permit before entering the Mt. Hood and Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness.

Photo by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

Pro tips

Drive a vehicle with decent clearance — the forest road is short but rutted with pits and potholes. The parking lot is massive, but filled up by the time we finished, so an early start is ideal. You’ll also need a National Forest Day Pass ($5) or an America the Beautiful Pass displayed on your dash.

Let us know

Did you try this hike? Do you know of one we should check out? Send us your thoughts and recommendations — or check out our other monthly hiking guides.

More from PDXtoday
The annual festivities give sneaker enthusiasts the chance to brush shoulders with creatives and leaders in the footwear industry.
This week — Monday, July 22-Friday, July 26, 2024 — we’re shining a spotlight on the vibrant drink scene in Portland.
The property on the way to Mount Hood offers animal tours, hosts private events, and has Airbnbs to reserve for your next getaway.
The touring show “Kooza” will run from Wednesday, Aug. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Portland Expo Center.