Distance: about 5 miles
Elevation gain: 1,300 ft
Location: Beacon Rock State Park, Washington
This hike has many great features: Rodney Falls, the Pool of Winds and Hardy Falls; beautiful streams; varied woodland wildflowers, and stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge from a steep cliff below Hamilton Mountain.
Instead of hiking all the way to the summit of Hamilton Mountain, we chose the cliff ridge below it as our destination. I had forgotten how steep this hike is and it has a few too many sheer drop-offs for my fear-of-heights-and-falling nature. If you don’t want to go as far as the cliffs, the waterfalls and wildflowers are well worth the trip, especially the viewpoint turnoff for Hardy Falls.
I was surprised at the great variety of wildflowers this early in the season. We saw Dutchman’s Breeches, Fairy Slipper, Striped Coralroot, Hooker’s Fairybells, Chickweed Monkeyflower, Trillium, Bleeding Hearts, Salmonberry, Yellow Wood Violet, Oregon Grape, Mountain Arnica, Wild Strawberry, Herb Robert Geranium and Oaks Toothwort.
I was especially excited to see the Fairy Slipper and Striped Coralroot.
Note: Washington does not accept the NW Forest Pass here and you’ll need a Discovery Pass, or pay $10 for the day.