Rock of Ages and Horsetail Creek Loop Trail

#4 of 4 trails in Ainsworth State Park
Rock of Ages and Horsetail Creek Loop Trail is a 7.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Bridal Veil, OR that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from March until October.

7.9 miles 3369 feet Loop
no dogs hiking forest waterfall blowdown scramble
Hide Map

Abhishek Malik
13 days ago

11 Completed0 Reviews

Really steep for the first 2.5-3 miles till it flattens out at the top, then its mostly downhill and a little bit of creek crossing. Cool hike.

Christine Medina
1 month ago

2 Completed0 Reviews

Scott Finnie
6 months ago

20 Completed15 Reviews

Victoria is right on so many points about the trail. (1) The start from the Pony falls trail is obscured and partly hidden by a large tree. (2) Its one of the steepest trails on the Gorge so she is right walking sticks are a distraction. (3) It should be noted truly is an unmaintained so should only attempted by experienced hikers and certainly no dogs or children. I have completed the Rock of Age, Horsetail (Trail # 424), and Oneonta Trail (Trail # 424) loop in both directions. The loop is 10.7 miles by my GPS and reaches a max elevation of 3,050 feet. My advice is if you are going to attempt this loop start with Rock of Ages portion first the accent down Rock of Ages could do number on the legs of the best of hikers. Apart from that Rock of Ages Arch and the cliffs faces viewed at this point are worth the detour of the trail. It is one hell of hike however because of the strenuous nature of the trail I give it three stars.

Sang Shin
7 months ago

10 Completed11 Reviews

Sang Shin
7 months ago

10 Completed11 Reviews

Sang Shin
7 months ago

10 Completed11 Reviews

Victoria Zorzoli
8 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Update on Rock of Ages: There are no longer any signs available, at least none that are visible. You need to take a left up a staircase made of roots right after the bend to Pony tail falls. There's a large rock with a scraped arrow pointing up. After that, you're on your own. I highly recommend only experienced hikers without dogs and children take this hike. Walking sticks are a hazard and a distraction, don't take them. I hike twice a week all over PNW and I am very fit and I found this hike strenuous and I even had a panic attack once I reached the top and could not fathom a safe way down. I completed about 7 miles of this hike and possibly took a shortcut down because I could not locate a safer exit that led to what is described above. There are several forks that are unmarked. It was summer time so the dirt and roots were very loose and dry. Many times on Devil's backbone the rocks were crumbling underneath me. The hike is very often vertical climbing foot to hand. The views are incredible and the best of the Columbia river. Just note: you'll be all alone.

Melanie Hernandez
9 months ago

5 Completed5 Reviews

Rocky But Fun!

Sam Kimerling
9 months ago

3 Completed1 Reviews

Nick Noble
10 months ago

12 Completed3 Reviews

This is a challenging hike that rewards your 3,000 ft climb with creek crossings and waterfall views. It doesn't get much better than this in the Gorge. The shorter version to Devil's Backbone is still a tough climb, but can be done as an out and back instead of the full loop. Not family friendly, and remember to bring enough water.

Jon B
2 years ago

69 Completed15 Reviews

very steep. phenomenal views. interesting geology. did i mention very steep?

Tim Todd
2 years ago

883 Completed142 Reviews

My favorite trail in this area. It is a difficult and all of it has been said in previous reviews so I won't repeat. Be careful and enjoy the views.

Matt Kinney
2 years ago

62 Completed42 Reviews

Rock of Ages is by far one of the most difficult hikes out there. We took some detours that had us literally sidestepping over a sheer cliff face. It is definitely worth it to take the side trail to the top of ponytail falls. I am pictured above in the arch and I have to say besides Devil’s backbone, this is one of the best views of the gorge imaginable. This is a no kids hike that has some potentially dangerous moments, but if you keep your wits and sense of direction, you will be rewarded and want to go again. I am going again at the end of the week. Be careful and remember to pack out what you bring in…

Blake Romey
2 years ago

10 Completed7 Reviews

Phenomenal hike. Difficult to get up. Some of the trails are more like deer trails than hiking trails, but once you get to the top the view is well worth the hike. If you continue up the trail goes almost endlessly to the top of the ridge. I recommend a nice day, it can get a little cold with the wind.

Shawn Severud
3 years ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

I also agree with the last two reviewers. This is a very strenuous hike, so if you were with kids, you most likely didn't get to the actual trail. This trail breaks off up and to the left before you get to the waterfall. Rock of ages is beautiful (and windy) and the view from devil's backbone is incredible. Not for novice hikers.

Ashid Mapanzigan
4 years ago

22 Completed3 Reviews

I agree with the previous review. Most of those posting below have confused this trail with the Horsetail and Triple Falls trail. I recently went with a couple friends to the Rock of Ages, which is perched directly up the side of the east canyon wall above Ponytail Falls, and it was a blast. Definitely not for amatuers, however, as the unmaintained trail is more of a near-vertical climb up a stone staircase.

K L Sinizer
4 years ago

0 Completed1 Reviews

This is a fantastic loop. However, I don't think any of the other reviewers actually did it. The trail to the Rock of Ages arch is very steep, gaining over 2900' in three miles, and can require hand over hand in places. Beyond that there is a traverse across an exposed rocky spine and a creek crossing on a very slippery log. I crossed on all fours. I would not recommend this part of the loop for children. I loved this hike but would definitely call it difficult.