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Bridge Trail - (Hardy Ridge Connector)

This approximately one mile trail provides a link between the East Hardy Ridge Trail and the Upper Hardy Creek Trail to providing multiple loop options in the backcountry of Beacon Rock State Park. With its majestic bridge across Hardy Creek, lush evergreen forest and enchanting stream crossings - it is a worthy destination in itself.

Although contractors constructed the bridge, WTA volunteers built the rest of the trail over the course of several years. It was first opened to hiker traffic in 2009. During the second phase of construction volunteers built the trail to equestrian standards opening it to horseback riders in 2012.

This trail was made possible by a grant from the Recreation Conservation Office and the NOVA program which uses a portion of state gas taxes to fund motorized and non-motorized trail projects.
Driving Directions:

From I-205 in Vancouver, take SR 14 east for 28.5 miles. Turn left onto paved Kueffler Road for 1.1 miles, then turn right for .3 mile on a gravel road to the equestrian trailhead. Hike the closed road for about 2.1 miles to the western trailhead.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 4 trip reports for this hike.
Hardy Ridge, Bridge Trail - (Hardy Ridge Connector), Hamilton Mountain — Oct 04, 2013 — Ryan Ojerio
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Overgrown | Mud/Rockslide
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With the Government Shutdown forcing our volunteers from planned projects on the National Forests, I...
With the Government Shutdown forcing our volunteers from planned projects on the National Forests, I went out to scout trails at Beacon Rock.

Thanks to the park ranger for dropping me off so I could do a grand loop up and over Hardy Ridge and Hamilton Mt. connecting them via the Bridge Trail and Don's Cut-Off.

Along the way I got to see WTA's volunteers work - On the west side of Hardy Ridge I hiked up the reroute that our Youth Vol. Vacation built in 2012 - a beautiful single-track that replaces the steep logging road. (there's more reroute planned)

The ridge is pretty brushy and a couple switchbacks are starting to fail. At the crest there is a 4-way junction where the designated trail goes straight and user-created paths go up and down the ridge as folks explore "off-trail". I sat for a spell on the crest and the clouds parted once, just enough to get a sample of the beautiful view.

Continuing along on the Bridge Trail and Don's Cut-off I found them to be in good shape. Such beautiful trails! the volunteer built rock fords are a work of art!

Coming down Hamilton Mt. I noticed that many, many of the switchbacks are failing as they are eroded and people are cutting them. Its in really bad shape and will be very difficult to remedy given the rocky terrain and distance from the trailhead.

Further down I crossed a small landslide and a section where the tread is so outsloped its starting to fail. That's the spot we'll have our volunteers work this weekend.
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Hardy Ridge Connector — Feb 10, 2011 — Sunrise Creek
Day hike
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Taking advantage of a rare sunny, but not windy, winter day in the Columbia River Gorge, we hiked th...
Taking advantage of a rare sunny, but not windy, winter day in the Columbia River Gorge, we hiked the Hardy Ridge Loop Trail at Beacon Rock State Park.

Starting at the Equestrian Trailhead, we were just above the ceiling of the pea-soup fog that blanketed the entire Columbia River. Beginning a hike in sunshine definitely lifted our spirits!

We hiked on well-signed fire roads about 3 miles to the start of the East Hardy Ridge Trail. Winter wrens serenaded from the underbrush. Otherwise, the alder and fir forest was quiet. As we ascended we walked through a few lingering snow patches where the winter sun had not penetrated the forest shade.

Another mile on rocky and mostly snow-free trail brought us to the crest of Hardy Ridge where we followed the boot path uphill to a sunny, south-facing slope for a great lunch spot. We could see Mount Hood rising above the Gorge directly in front of us, and we could see up and down river as the fog melted away. Slopes that will be awash in wild flowers in a few months were still in winter dormancy.

After lunch we returned to the WTA-built trail and continued down the west side of Hardy Ridge on the West Hardy Ridge Trail. The trail merged with an abandoned fire road and then descended further to fire roads used by equestrians and park managers. Eventually we closed the lollipop on the loop portion and returned to the trailhead. The hike is about 7.3 miles and 2,000 ft. elevation gain.
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Hardy Ridge Connector — Apr 22, 2010 — Ryan Ojerio
Day hike
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To celebrate Earth Day our crew of volunteers put in a day working on the Hardy Ridge Connector Trai...
To celebrate Earth Day our crew of volunteers put in a day working on the Hardy Ridge Connector Trail We worked on the section that links the East Hardy Ridge Trail to the Upper Hardy Creek Trail. We often see folks on the Trail who have done Hamilton Mt. and are adding a couple more miles by crossing Hardy Creek on the new footbridge, then following our new trail to the East Hardy Ridge Trail and then on to the Lower Hardy Creek Trail.

The park has yet to officially name the new trail segments. I might suggest the trail of fallen giants since there are so many huge nurse logs that were felled after the Yacolt Burn.

We spent the day removing several stumps and finishing the tread in their place. Some sections are completely finished, but others are really rugged, especially the middle as we've been working in from both ends of the trail.

This summer two youth crews will work on the trail focusing on the most rugged section in the middle and a boggy area where they will build a turnpike.
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Hardy and Rodney Falls, Hamilton Mountain, Hardy Ridge Connector, Hardy Creek — Apr 20, 2010 — Sunrise Creek
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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WTA has been building and maintaining trails at Beacon Rock State Park for years. This time, I got t...
WTA has been building and maintaining trails at Beacon Rock State Park for years. This time, I got to hike the entire route without tools in my hands!

After dropping cars at the Hamilton Mountain trailhead, we began this through-hike at the equestrian trailhead. It is reached by turning onto Kueffler Road by the Beacon Rock State Park ranger station and driving 1.1 miles, then turning right onto a gravel road for .3 mile to a large parking area.

We walked 1.8 miles up the closed road to the second intersection and turned left, following the signs for Hardy Ridge Loop. We walked another 1.3 miles to the unsigned start of the Hardy Ridge Connector Trail, which still is under construction.

Once on the Hardy Ridge Connector, we encountered various stages of trail construction as we descended to the bridge over Hardy Creek at about one mile. We crossed over and gained the fire road on the east side of the creek.

Following the road downstream for a mile or so, we came to the junction with the Hardy Creek Trail. The picnic table at this junction beside rushing Hardy Creek was our lunch stop.

We then hiked the Hardy Creek Trail for 1.1 miles to the junction with the Hamilton Mountain Trail. From there, it was 1.5 miles to the trailhead, passing Rodney Falls as we crossed Hardy Creek again on another foot bridge.

The complete hike is about 7.7 miles and 1,600 feet of elevation gain. Mid-April to mid-May is the prime time for wildflowers at Beacon Rock State Park. Many species of flowers bloom on the sunny forest floor beneath red alder trees that are only beginning to leaf out. Up on the summits of Beacon Rock and Hardy Ridge, large mats of spreading phlox will bloom around Mother's Day.
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IMG_4748 WoodViolets_HardyCr 4-20-10 em.jpg
Smooth yellow violets grow in profusion under the alder trees and along the side of the roads-turned-trails. Photo by Susan Saul
WTA worked here!
2010, 2011, 2012
Location
Hardy Ridge Connector (#)
South Cascades -- Columbia Gorge
Beacon Rock State Park
User info
Good for kids
Dogs allowed on leash
May encounter mountains bikes
Discover Pass required

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Red MarkerBridge Trail - (Hardy Ridge Connector)
45.6589275259 -122.021799088
  • Youth Vacations 2012
  • Youth Vacations 2010
  • Youth Vacations 2011
  • Youth Vacations 2014
  • Trail Work 2012
  • Trail Work 2011
  • Trail Work 2010
(45.6589, -122.0218) Open in new window
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