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Pacific Northwest



Hamilton Mountain

Hiked:   May 1993, April 2002
Length:   7.6 mile loop
Elevation Gain:   2000 feet
USGS Quad:   Beacon Rock
GPS Coordinates:    N:     45 39' 04"
 W: 122 00' 15"
Photo Gallery:   None Available

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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.   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.

The Trail:

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.

Our Take:

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 at best.

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!

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