Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington
With waterfalls, ridge lines, cliffs, alpine views, and wildflowers, Hamilton Mountain has it all.

Located in the Beacon Rock State Park, Hamilton Mountain is a popular destination for local hikers. So while the tourists are all visiting Beacon Rock, take the turn up the mountain and head towards the Hamilton Mountain trailhead. Keep in mind, this is a state park so either pay at the trailhead or bring your Discover Pass and head on up.

 

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

As with most of the trails along the gorge, you will start off in the forest. But every once in awhile you can get a glimpse of your jagged destination.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

First up on the list of sights is the impressive Hardy Falls.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

It's a slight side trip off the main trail, but totally worth it.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Back on the trail and a little further up you will come to Rodney Falls.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

There is a little trail up to this viewing point. Looking down you can see the well crafted bridge you will use to continue your hike.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

A shot looking back at the bridge and Rodney Falls passing underneath.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

About halfway up you will come to a decision point. Do you take the "Difficult" trail or the "More Difficult" trail. To be honest, your decision is already made. You will be taking the More Difficult trail. Unless you hate ridges, cliffs, and amazing views...but then again why would you even be here?

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Shortly after the trail split you break out of the forest and make your way onto the ridgeline. Looking back, you can easily see Beacon Rock.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Another shot of Beacon Rock, but this time a bit more of the gorge.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Some of the wildflowers you will find along the ridgeline.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

If you follow the ridgeline you will be greeted with some amazing views of Hamilton Mountain and it's stunning cliffs.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Sadly there weren't  too many wildflowers along the ridgeline meadow.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Looking East from the ridgeline, you get a clear view of the dam.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Getting closer to the cliffs before having to go back onto the main trail.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Part of the trail towards the final summit. Looking back you can see the ridgeline with Beacon Rock hiding in the distance.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Atop the summit, you can now see Mount Hood begin to peak its way  over the adjacent mountains.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Not happy with just sitting at the summit and having my lunch, I followed a side trail towards the south. After a bit of scramble climbing I came to the cliff face we were looking at earlier. I found a safe place and enjoyed the view along with a pair of hawks who were using the shear wind force to practically hover as they looked for a meal of their own.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Scrambling back up to the summit, I decided I would take on the extra two miles and see what the back loop of the trail had to offer.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

One of the main features of the back trail is you get a commanding view of the mountains to not only the North, but also the East and West. One of the prominent mountains is Table Mountain.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Aptly named for it's flat, table like top.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Looking back at the summit, you can still see Mt Hood.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington

Finally back in the forest, the back trail is one third access road. Making one third of the back trail a bit boring to say the least. I was rather happy to get out of the sun and back in the forest. While taking this route does add on an extra two miles, if you are looking for continued beauty, I would recommend turning around once you reach the access road and head back the way you came.

Back at the car, the small lot was full and there was a ranger on hand to help direct traffic up the road. While not as busy as my trip to Dog Mountain, this one became a bit packed as well. I was once again happy to get to the trail early and find ample parking.

Looking to make a trip of Hamilton Mountain? Great! Here's a link to WTA's post on Hamilton Mountain. Make sure you read the trip reports and check the condition of the trails first. And when you're done with the mountain, go check out Beacon Rock on your way home.

As usual, here's a map of my hike. I outlined where the service road is so you can make up your own mind on whether or not you want to head down that route.

Hiking Hamilton Mountain along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington