Easy Hike Up an Ancient Volcano Core

Beacon Rock

This is a wonderful, short, hour-long hike at most at one mile total. The views of the gorge are fantastic, and it’s a unique experience to wind your way up such a steep thing on foot and yet an easy hike—and a perfect warm-up for Hamilton Mountain across the street. Beacon Rock is a the core of an ancient volcano! Can you believe that!? Over thousands of years, hundreds of massive floods careened through the Columbia River Gorge and carved away the volcano’s main structure, leaving only the lava core you see today.

Beacon Rock Hiking Boots

Depending on who you talk to, it is the second-largest free standing monolith in the Northern Hemisphere! Be aware, the Washington State Discover Pass is required here. This hike is less than an hour from Portland along Washington Hwy 14, so the access couldn’t be easier. As always, please remember to leave no trace. Always leave the trail better than it was before you got there.

Things to Note

Difficulty: Easy
Length of Hike: 1.8 mile round trip
Distance from Portland: 45 minutes by car
Elevation Gain: 680 feet
Seasons: Year-round
Use: hikers
Road Conditions: Paved
Swimming: Yes, in the summer
Bathroom: Yes, with running water
Overnight Camping: No
Pros: A short, fun and interesting hike for the whole family. Amazing views of the Gorge.
Cons: Crowded on weekends. Narrow.
Region: Columbia River Gorge, WA
Congestion: Crowded
Preferable Season(s): Spring, Summer, winter, fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required: Yes, Washington State Discover Pass
Dogs allowed: Yes

Beacon Rock Pier

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