Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
7.50 mi (12.07 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Hamilton Mountain Trail is a great hike on the north side of the Columbia River Gorge. The trail starts at Beacon Rock State Park, which offers nearby seasonal camping, and the hike up Beacon Rock could be added if energy remains after hiking Hamilton.  Hamilton Mountain remains a great option in the winter as the trail is typically passable year-round. Access to the upper parking area is gated during these months, however, so parking is relegated to the pullouts around the Beacon Rock Trailhead; you then hike the half-mile up the road on the north side of the highway to the upper parking area. The trailhead is clearly marked at the north side of the upper parking area.

Towering 2,400 feet above the Columbia River Gorge, Hamilton Mountain feels much higher then it actually is. Strong gorge winds and a southern exposure combine to make much of the second half of the ascent, including the peak, open and free of vegetation. That said, this hike really has it all: sections pass through tranquil woods, over mountain streams, and provide terrific views of two waterfalls.

The trail enters the woods and climbs gently before dropping briefly into the Hardy Creek Drainage, where a short side trail leads to a view of Hardy Falls below.  Soon another trail makes a short climb up to the Pool of the Winds that lies at the base of the 50-foot Rodney Falls. Once the trail crosses the creek the ascent starts in earnest; after several switchbacks, look for the first of several cliff-top viewpoints and Little Hamilton Mountain. This is a good point to turn around if a you are short on time. If you are continuing to the summit of Hamilton Mountain, stay on the trail as it follows along the ridge and climbs steeply toward the end. The summit offers sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood as it looms over the southern peaks, and the ordered company town of North Bonneville below.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Washington Discovery Pass

Pros

Great views. Waterfalls. Close to Portland. Passable nearly year-round.

Cons

Washington Discovery Pass is required. Can be very windy.

Trailhead Elevation

260.00 ft (79.25 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,217.00 ft (675.74 m)

Features

Waterfalls
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

Beautiful hike at Hamilton Mountain on 5/30. The summit was a bit buggy, so we sat and had lunch on the saddle. The west side of the saddle was bug and wind free and had a great view.
03/01/2015
Not a cloud in the sky or a flake of snow on the ground. The summit was busy (and the parking lot below full) for such a great clear day, but even then the trail didn't feel overly congested with people. We took the loop track back down by walking out the ridge and returning via the road and horse path for a bit. It's much easier on the knees and offers more great views not seen on the way up.
02/14/2015
Apparently hiking is for lovers because on Valentine's day there were tons of people hiking Hamilton Mountain! The hike to Pool of the Winds/Rodney Falls is somewhat difficult, but short. However doing the additional 2 miles up to the top of Hamilton Mountain is a whole other story! After a long sustained climb and many switchback you will find your heart pounding and you will be wondering why you are so out of shape. Don't worry everyone feels like this! There are a couple of fake-out spots where you think you've reached the top, but keep going until you find that sign that says 2438. Yup, you've climbed over 2200 feet to reach that spot. So kick back with everyone else gulping down water, eating their snacks, and enjoying the great views.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.