Little Hamilton Mountain is a promontory connected to Hamilton Mountain and makes an excellent hike. Although it is a less ambitious hike than the summit of Hamilton Mountain, it actually affords better views, including almost 270-degrees of the Columbia River Gorge and a grand view of Hamilton Mountain itself. If your goal is the summit of Hamilton Mountain, it is well worth your time to make the side trip. On the other hand, the views to the east and west along the Columbia River Gorge make it a worthy goal in of itself. This relatively short hike offers all the wonders associated with the Columbia River Gorge, including waterfalls, wildflowers, and grand vistas. Starting in an old second-growth forest of fir, hemlock, and big leaf maple, it goes by way of Hardy Creek Falls, and Pool of the Winds, ending in a steep climb up through a mossy meadow.
To find the trail to Little Hamilton Mountain, follow the trail to Hamilton Mountain Summit. At around mile 2 and after a series of short steep switchbacks, you will reach the top of a cliff with very good view to the river below. Continue to follow the main trail around the ridge to the left, and watch for a unmarked trail heading up steeply to the right. Follow this up through a steep meadow to the top of Little Hamilton Mountain.
While this is a very good spot to view the sunset, the gate to the road leading to the parking lot at the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead is closed and locked 20 minutes after sunset. If you are planning to stay through sunset, it is advisable to park at the Beacon Rock parking lot instead. This will add half a mile each way to your hike.