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Hardy Ridge

8.5-mile loop
2200 feet
elevation gain
Open all year
Use: hikers, horses, and bicycles (hikers only atop the ridge).

If you’ve visited Beacon Rock State Park, on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge, you may have seen the crowds hiking to viewpoints atop Beacon Rock or Hamilton Mountain (Hike #41). Hardy hikers can climb to an uncrowded alternative—a rocky ridgetop wildflower garden that actually looks down on the park’s other viewpoints. Although the loop starts at an equestrian trailhead and mostly follows old forest roads, trails on the ridge itself are open only to hikers.

You’ll need a Discover Pass for your car in this Washington State Park. The permit costs $10 a day if you buy it at the trailhead fee box. Yearly passes for $35 are available at outdoor stores, at 866-320-9933, or at discoverpass.wa.gov. If you want to pay with a credit card, a fee machine accepts them at the Beacon Rock Trailhead on Highway 14, just 1.4 miles from the park’s equestrian trailhead.

To find the equestrian trailhead from Portland ...

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