From Beacon Rock to Hamilton Mountain
A coworker, Paul, joined me on this hike to Hamilton Mountain. It was cold and somewhat gloomy, but since there had been a lot of rain, I was looking forward to seeing what Rodney Falls and Hardy Falls looked like.
Hamilton Mountain is the higher peak,
barely visible in the clouds
We started out from the parking lot of Beacon Rock. During the week, the gate to the campground is closed, so we had to walk up from SR 14. At the parking lot for the main picnic area, we reached the trail head and began walking uphill on the dirt path.
We soon reached the power lines and got our first view of Bonneville Dam below and our destination, Hamilton Mountain, above. Don’t be fooled. The first peak is not Hamilton Mountain. The peak beyond that (hidden in the clouds) is the one!
You can normally stand at the rail
to view the Pool of Winds
Along the trail, I was amazed at the amount of water that was coming down the hillside. When we reached the Pool of Winds, there was so much water, that I could not get to where the rails were without getting wet. I stood back and let Paul scramble over to the edge of the viewpoint. He was still unable to see into the cut in the rock that makes up the Pool of Winds.
My Favorite Sign
After crossing the bridge and climbing the stairs, we made it to the intersection with my favorite sign “Difficult” and “More Difficult”. We continued along the trail to the switchback under the first rocky crag, commonly known as Little Hamilton Mountain. The path soon turns into a sort of scramble up the side and tops out with views of the Columbia River, including Bonneville Dam and Beacon Rock.
A great view of the cliffs
on the way to the summit
More switchbacks took us close to the edge of some cliffs as we continued to the summit. The views on top are not as clear and unobstructed as various points on the way up. However, the 2400ft climb gave us a feeling a accomplishment.
We took the other trail back down to see the view from Saddle View. There was a blast of cold wind sweeping over the saddle, so we did not stick around long. We came to a sign that said “Don’s Trail” and followed that down though the woods to the roadway, then back to the trail intersection near Rodney Falls.
It was a great time. I will post future hiking events as they are planned. Hopefully about one a month. Be sure to get your notifications by email by using the form in the right hand column.