Beacon Rock State Park, WA — We intended on climbing Beacon Rock, but due to a rock slide, that hike was closed, so we moved across the freeway to check out Mount Hamilton Trail — and what a treat!
This hike is full of the best things the Columbia River Gorge has to offer — easy access and parking, a well-maintained trail, stunning waterfalls, and some incredible views.
As part of Beacon Rock State Park, you can approach this hike a couple ways — by hiking straight up and back for a six-mile journey or by taking the fun 7.5 mile loop.
The first mile is a steady, easy uphill pace with a wide trail (enough for passersby from either direction to get by). You’ll hear the waterfalls then head to the Hardy Falls viewpoint. Keep going until you see another trail leading up to Rodney Falls and the breathtaking Pool of the Winds. The hike to this enchanting pool is easy for people of all ages, and just seeing Pool of the Winds is worth the short trip.
There are lots of protective rails to keep one from falling, but they don’t detract from nature’s beauty.
The trail gets steeper past the falls, and it gives you two options: Hamilton Trail — More Difficult, and Hardy Creek Trail — Difficult. The More Difficult option takes you up the Hamilton Mountain Trail, and switches back for 1,400 feet. You can take the Hardy Creek Trail for a 3.2 mile loop.
At the summit, you have walked three miles up. The highest part of the trail is 4 miles in with signs pointing toward the Hardy Creek Trail. You can enjoy a picnic lunch near Hardy Creek. To get back, continue on the Hardy Trail, and after 1.4 miles you’ll be back on the Hamilton Mountain Trail and make your descent.
Mount Hamilton Trail Directions
From Camas, drive 22 miles east on Highway 14 until you arrive at the Beacon Rock State Park entrance. Go past the ranger station, and take the road that angles up to the hill (to the left, on the north side). Look for the brown hiking sign. After .3 miles turns right into the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead parking area.