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Washington State Parks

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USA Parks
Volcano Country Region
Beacon Rock State Park
Spring Hike ©
Picnic Table ©
It is always a great day for a picnic in the park.
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34841 SR 14   98648
(lat:45.6291 lon:-122.0212) map location

Phone: 509-427-8265
Email: park email button icon
Beacon Rock State Park is a 4,650-acre year-round camping park with historic significance dating back hundreds of years. The park includes 9,500 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Columbia River. Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Beacon Rock is the core of an ancient volcano. The mile-long trail to its summit provides outstanding panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge. The park has over 20 miles of roads and trails open to hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use.

Nature of the Area
A dizzying mile-long switchback trail takes you up 848-foot Beacon Rock, but that's not the only way to a tip-top experience.

Rock climbing and hiking to waterfalls are the rage at this park, where there are plenty of vantage points for eagle-eye views. Cyclists and horseback riders also will find trails to the vistas from Hamilton Mountain saddle, and boaters can delight in the majesty of Beacon Rock from the Columbia River.

Beacon Rock overlooks a breathtaking section of the Columbia River Gorge, a deep, wide gouge in the earth carved by Ice Age floods. The mighty Columbia River rushes down to the ocean in a froth of whitecaps, bisecting Washington and Oregon, with walls of columnar basalt and mountains rising thousands of feet on both sides.

The park's proximity to Portland and Vancouver make it popular with locals and visitors from around the world. No matter what activities you choose at Beacon Rock, you will be awed by this special place and its stunning surroundings.
History of the Area
"Beacon Rock" was originally named by Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the Pacific Ocean on October 31, 1805. It was near Beacon Rock that they first measured tidal influences from the ocean on the Columbia River.

In 1811, Alexander Ross of the John Jacob Astor expedition called the rock "Inoshoack Castle." The rock was known as "Castle Rock" until, in 1916, the United States Board of Geographic Names restored the name "Beacon Rock."

Henry J. Biddle purchased the rock in order to build a trail to the top. The trail was built, and in 1935 his heirs turned the rock over to the state for use as a park. Additional development was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to Washington state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
The main camp area is an older camp in a forested setting suited more for tents than RVs. There are a limited number of sites that accommodate RVs. This campground closes seasonally.

The Woodard Creek Campground has full-hookup campsites that provide electricity, water, and sewer. These campsites are open year round.

There are two standard equestrian campsites located at the equestrian trailhead that will accommodate a horse trailer.
The park offers one boat launch, 916 feet of moorage dock and a boat pumpout.
Anglers can enjoy fishing in the Columbia River, known for its salmon and steelhead. Sturgeon is also a common catch.

There are two kitchen shelters with electricity in the park, plus two sheltered and 53 unsheltered picnic tables.

The lower picnic-area kitchen shelter is located at Hamilton Mountain Trailhead, available first-come, first-served. Water and power are available in the shelter.

The upper picnic-area kitchen shelter is available by reservation for groups of up to 100 people. Water and power are on-site.
1. Beacon Rock Trail: This is the park's most popular trail, leading to the summit of Beacon Rock itself. It's a 2-mile round trip with switchbacks and bridges carved into rock.

2. Hamilton Mountain Trail: A moderate-to-difficult hike that spans about 7 miles in total length, offering stunning views of waterfalls and Columbia River Gorge along its path.

3. Hardy Ridge Loop Hike: An approximately eight mile loop featuring beautiful wildflowers during springtime; it offers panoramic vistas from atop an open ridge line.

4. Equestrian Trails: These are multi-use trails spanning over 13 miles for horseback riding as well as hiking through forested areas within the state park boundaries.

5. River-To-Rock Trailhead: Starting near campgrounds by river side this easy one mile long trail leads you towards base of beacon rock.

6. Hardy Falls And Pool Of Winds Via Hamilton Mt.Trail: Moderate difficulty level,this four mile out:and-back type route takes hikers past two spectacular waterfall features.

7. Alder Tunnel via Doetsch Ranch Day Use Area: Easy rated short half-a-mile walk suitable for all skill levels which passes through historic tunnel made up alder trees.

8. Little Hamilton Mountain Out & Back: Shorter version (around five miles) of full hamilton mountain trek providing similar scenic beauty but less strenuous.
Biking enthusiasts can enjoy the 13-mile Hamilton Mountain trail, though it's advised to be prepared for steep inclines.

The Hardy and Rodney Falls trails also offer biking options but require a high level of skill due to rocky terrain.

For those seeking less challenging routes, consider exploring the park's fire roads which are more suitable for casual riders.

Remember that some paths may have restrictions on cycling during certain times or seasons; always check local guidelines before setting off.

It is crucial not only to wear appropriate safety gear but also respect other users by maintaining safe speeds and distances.

Ensure your bike is in good working order as there aren't any repair facilities within this natural reserve area.
Rock Climbing and Rappelling
Beacon Rock offers excellent opportunities for rock climbing except where it interferes with nesting raptors, primarily on the south face. The presence of the falcon nest requires that the south face be closed to technical rock activity February 1 to mid-July annually; open the rest of the year. The east face is closed year-round due to environmental sensitivity. Call the park at (509) 427-8265 for more information.
Nature Programs
The park offers a one-mile interpretive trail at the Doetsch day-use area. The trail is ADA accessible. Additionally, there are interpretive signs about the Ice Age floods along the Beacon Rock Trail.
Birdwatchers can spot species like the Pileated Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker and Northern Pygmy Owl. The park is also home to various warblers during migration season. Raptors such as Peregrine Falcons are often seen soaring above the cliffs. Birding enthusiasts may encounter Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak and other songbirds in summer months.
Area Attractions
The horse and bike trails are multi-use, with hikers allowed.

There is fishing on the lower Columbia River, below Bonneville Dam, for sturgeon, salmon, steelhead, bass and walleye.

The park is a popular site for weddings.

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Located 35 miles east of Vancouver, Wash. in Skamania County.

From Seattle:Take I-5 south to Vancouver. Just north of Vancouver, take I-205 south. Follow I-205 south to the Hwy. 14 exit (last exit before crossing the Columbia River into Oregon). Follow Hwy. 14 east. Beacon Rock and the park entrance are located at mile post 35.

From Portland:Take I-84 eastbound along the Columbia River to Cascade Locks. At Cascade Locks, cross the Columbia River into Washington on the Bridge of the Gods toll bridge. Turn left onto Hwy. 14. Follow Hwy. 14 west for seven miles to Beacon Rock.

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Washington State Parks