Summit BR: 848ft HM: 2,438ft
Native land of the: Cowlitz and Grand Ronde
BR: 1.8m 680ft gain HM: 7.5m 2,010ft gain
Beacon Rock State Park protects one of the most unique geological features on the Columbia River Gorge. Beacon Rock is a 848ft tall monolith that was once the core of a volcano. It was named by Lewis and Clark in 1805 and purchased by Henry Biddle in 1915 for $1. He built the first trail to the top and later donated the land to Washington when the US Army Corps tried to destroy the rock to create a jetty. Washington didn’t actually accept the offer until Oregon agreed to fund a park. Thank you, Henry and Oregon!
Hamilton Mountain also lies in the park and offers superb vistas, multiple waterfalls and a well maintained trail!
1st Trip: 5/29/2020
Hamilton Mountain was one of the first trails to open on the Columbia River Gorge after the pandemic and fire closures so we jumped at the opportunity to hike here on a nice clear day. We passed three waterfalls in the first mile. Hardy Falls, Rodney Falls and the Pool of the Winds!
We then took a side trail up Little Hamilton Mountain which holds the best view on the mountain! You can look down on Beacon Rock, up at the rock walls on Hamilton or across the gorge to Nesmith Point.
From here a steep collection of switchbacks take you to the summit for a great view east to Table Mountain and Mount Adams and south to Mount Hood.
We returned on the same trail instead of taking the Hardy Creek loop.
This is a great trail close to home that has a little bit of everything including plenty of water for Moose to cool off in!
2nd Trip: 3/6/2021
Living in Vancouver I check readysetgorge.com often for current trail closures and was lucky to spot the reopening of the Beacon Rock Trail almost a year after moving! We went the next day which was a Saturday but there was no crowd. It was very foggy and overcast but we made it up the trail of bridges and blasted rock quickly. Moose was cutting each switchback as tight as possible. So cute seeing him get excited for a summit!
We also went up Hamilton Mountain although there was no view from the top. The views were again gorgeous from Little Hamilton Mountain along the way!
We had another great time and of course there was plenty of water for Moose to play in.