||May 1993, April 2002
||7.6 mile loop
|| N: 45° 39' 04"
W: 122° 00' 15"
To Reach (From
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. Turn off the
highway to the left, and follow the paved road for 0.3 miles and follow
it to the right, where there is a trailhead parking lot.
This trail is
fairly strenuous, but less so than nearby Dog Mountain. It passes
through a forest, and past lovely waterfalls, and stunning views, before
reaching a brush-obscured summit at 2438'.
Follow the fern-laden
trail under a power line for about a mile, where you can take a short
side trail to see Hardy Falls. After another few hundred yards,
there is a side trail to the left that leads to a lookout over beautiful
50-foot Rodney Falls. You'll descend to a footbridge below the falls
before heading back uphill to a fork in the road, where you'll want to
stay to the left. Keep right at the next fork, and ascend a steep
section of trail, traversing a ridge with wonderful views across the Columbia
River Gorge. After 1.8 miles, you'll find a T-intersection, where
the trail to the right leads to the official summit, where the view is
mostly blocked by brush.
To complete the
loop, turn around and follow the view-ridden ridge for 0.9 miles, where
you turn left down an abandoned road. Stay left on the road for
1.0 miles to a meadow at a creek crossing. Veer left into the forest,
and continue for 1.1 miles until joining up with the main trail.
Turn right to head down the trail to your car.
Last time I hiked
this trail, Gabe and I went up with the Ptarmigans Outdoor Club as part
of the Mountaineering training course. The day was one, long, continuous
downpour. We may have never been so wet. The trail was lush
and beautiful for a good portion of the trail, though the stretch returning
down the road was boring, and the view from the summit was disappointing
The views from
the ridge were excellent, but the day was so wet, that I didn't dare take
out the camera, especially since the view was fairly obscured by the rain!
The drive up to Hamilton Mountain over Cape Horn and through the Washington
side of the Columbia River Gorge is beautiful, and the hike is just the
right length for a casual part of a day.
We enjoy this
hike, but we haven't been on it for a while. It must be getting
close to time to do it again!