One of the more popular hikes on the Washington side of the Gorge, this is definitely worth a visit! Beacon Rock is known for quality, challenging, technical rock climbing. The park’s 4,464 acres include 9,500 feet of Columbia River shoreline and forested uplands with 20 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. The park has boating and camping facilities. Trails go to the top of Beacon Rock and Little Beacon Rock. Hardy Falls and Rodney Falls (Pool of the Winds) are scenic highlights along the trail to the summit of 2,445-foot Hamilton Mountain, which has a view of Bonneville Dam and points east. Hamilton Mountain Saddle, located north of the summit, provides additional views, including Table Mountain, and the opportunity for a 7.75 miles loop hike
Beacon Rock is an 848-foot-tall monolith composed of basalt on the north bank of the Columbia River. It was named by Lewis and Clark in 1805; they originally referred to it as Beaten Rock, later as Beacon Rock. They noted that the rock marked the eastern extent of the tidal influence in the Columbia. The rock was later known as Castle Rock, until 1915 when its name was changed back to Beacon Rock.
Henry J. Biddle purchased the rock in 1915 for $1 and during the next three years constructed a trail with 51 switchbacks, handrails and bridges. The three-quarter mile trail to the top, completed in April 1918, leads to views in all directions.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers planned to destroy the rock to supply material for the jetty at the mouth of the Columbia (see Columbia River Bar), and dug three caves on the rock’s south side. During this time, Biddle’s family tried to make it a state park. At first Washington refused the gift, but changed its position when Oregon offered to accept. The park was established in 1935. Workers with the Civilian Conservation Corps made improvements which remain in use.This entry was posted in 7 Wonders of Washington, Hikes with Views - No Waterfalls, Uncategorized, Washington State