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Beacon Rock


Hiked:   Numerous Times
Length:   1.8 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain:   600 feet
USGS Quad:    Beacon Rock
GPS Coordinates:   N:     45 37' 40"
 W: 122 01' 10"
Photo Gallery:   Beacon Rock Photos

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To Reach (From Portland):

Cross the I-205 (Glenn Jackson) bridge, taking SR-14 eastbound to Camas.  Follow SR-14 past Washougal, and the vistas of Cape Horn for 28.6 miles.  You'll see Beacon Rock State Park, with the Hamilton Mountain parking area on the left and the Beacon Rock parking area on the right.  It will be pretty obvious that you've reached the right place, when you see the 848-foot monolith towering above you.

The Trail:

Built in 1915 by Henry Biddle, the Beacon Rock trail goes through 47 switchbacks and countless catwalk bridges en route to the views atop the largest basalt monolith in the world.   Hordes of people (and kids) climb this trail during the summer months, as it has become a bit of a tourist attraction.    The trail is carved into the rock, and connected by bridges, with handrails along its entirety. 

To start, walk 150 feet or so along the road from the parking area to the sign marking the trailhead.  Follow the obvious, touristy trail to the top, where vistas extend from Bonneville Dam to Crown Point.  The 600-foot elevation gain makes this short trail of less than a mile fairly steep, but should still be do-able for people of all ages.  Don't be startled if you see a stray rock climber pop up from the edge of the trail! 

Our Take:

This trail has a special place for me, as I spent part of my childhood growing up on Pierce Ranch (now a wildlife preserve), at the foot of Beacon Rock.  My dad used to rock climb it daily, and my mom would hike up and down with me on her back nearly every day.  I took numerous school field trips here, and also many hiking trips here throughout my early childhood.

Sandra and I last went up in 1995, our first year together, before we were married.  The trail is short, easy, and offers nice views at the top.  If you're just passing by, or Hamilton Mountain just wasn't quite enough, this is a nice way to spend a couple of hours.  The narrow trail gets quite crowded, though, so be prepared!  The wind always blows here, so be sure to bring a jacket, and long pants are recommended!  Click on the link below to view our photo gallery.

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