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Beacon Rock

August 28, 2011

Continuing on my list hikes “to do” this summer I headed out to the Columbia Gorge to visit Beacon Rock on August 17th.    “The Rock” is a volcanic monolith sitting near the edge of the Columbia River on the Washington side.  The hike is short — less than 2 miles out and back.  The elevation gain is only 680 feet but it is rated “moderate” because you are climbing pretty much all the way.  While there are great views at most points along the climb, what was most interesting to me was the construction of the trail itself.  Henry Biddle bought the land for the sole purpose of building a trail to the top and a plaque part way up the trail indicates that Biddle and Chas. Johnson built the trail between October 1915 and April 1918.  It is a bit of an engineering marvel.  After a short walk through forest to the base of the rock you ascend on switchback after another, occasionally crossing wooden footbridges, until you reach the top.   Click on photos to enlarge image. Most of the trail is on the west side of the rock but there are some east views just before the top.  Views at the top are 360 degrees.  Here we are looking east along the Columbia River.

The next hike on my list is Hamilton Mountain.  This is what it looks like from Beacon Rock, which is just below the Hamilton Mountain trail head. 

More on Hamilton Mountain in the next post.

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