Beacon Rock Park

  • Easy (to Beacon Rock)
  • 1.8 miles round trip
  • 600 feet elevation gain
  • Open all year

  • Easy (to Rodney Falls)
  • 2.2 miles round trip
  • 600 feet elevation gain

  • Difficult (to Hamilton Mountain)
  • 7.6-mile loop
  • 2000 feet elevation gain

Beacon Rock State Park boasts two of the Columbia Gorge’s most famous and popular trails: a switchbacking path up Beacon Rock’s 848-foot-tall block of basalt, and a longer trail that passes beautiful Rodney Falls before climbing steeply to cliff-edge viewpoints on Hamilton Mountain.

Lewis and Clark named Beacon Rock in 1805 while paddling past its cliffs. In 1915 a man named Henry Biddle bought the rock and arduously constructed a well-graded trail to the top, incorporating 47 switchbacks and dozens of railed catwalk bridges. When the Army Corps of Engineers suggested the monolith be blown up for use as a jetty at the mouth of the Columbia, Biddle’s family tried to make the area a state park. At first Washington refused the gift. But that decision quickly changed when Oregon offered to accept.

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The viewpoints on the bare …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington.