Oneonta Gorge is one of those hidden treasures that you just have to see to believe.
Tucked away within the stunning Columbia River Gorge (which is a natural wonder all on its own), this magical creek might be one of America's most beautiful hikes.
It was a miner '49er named Carleton Eugene Watkins, originally on the West Coast for the California gold rush, who first photographed the area, and he was the one who gave the gorge its name-- he called it "Oneonta" after his hometown of Oneonta, New York.
If you do plan on hiking through the enchanting gorge, be prepared to get wet; at times the stream itself is the actual trail, taking you past enormus basalt walls covered in emerald green moss and bubbling, sparkling waterfalls.
The lower gorge is a protected habitat for the rare lichens, ferns and wildlife, hence the need to walk upstream through the creek.
There are four major waterfalls along the gorge (Upper Oneonta Falls, Middle Oneonta Falls, Lower Oneonta Falls and the triple falls), so the hike, which at times can be through chest-deep water, is totally worth it.
If you'd rather not get wet while exploring Oneonta, don't sweat-- there are also trails and observation decks and bridges on dry land through other parts of the verdant gorge, so people of all hiking skill levels can experience it for themselves.