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Beacon Rock State Park - Hardy and Rodney Falls

Southwest Washington > Columbia River Gorge - WA
45.6325, -122.0200 Map & Directions
Length
3.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1200 feet
Highest Point
1648 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate
Bleeding Hearts in Bloom. Photo by Susan Saul.

If the long, rocky loop around the summit of Hamilton Mountain is too much, don't despair. There are alternative hikes in the area, and the trail to the twin cascades of Hardy and Rodney Falls is hands down the best option. Continue reading

  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Waterfalls

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Hiking Beacon Rock State Park - Hardy and Rodney Falls

If the long, rocky loop around the summit of Hamilton Mountain is too much for your group, don't despair. There are alternative hikes in the area, and the trail to the twin cascades of Hardy and Rodney Falls is hands down the best option.

From the lower trailhead, start off hiking on a wide path through tall trees and mosses, accompanied by twittering, flitting songbirds. Most of the elevation gain is in the first mile, until you come to a junction with another trail. This one comes in from the campground at the end of the road you drove in on. This route adds about .20 miles to your hike, a good option for anyone wanting the views of the falls with less of the elevation gain.

After the junction, the trail flattens out and traverses through more forest, passing small creeks and cascades that provide excellent photography opportunities. At about a mile and a half, hikers will hear Hardy and Rodney Falls, but two bridge crossings over smaller cascades come first. Take time to see how high up these little waterfalls go -- you will be surprised and impressed.

Rounding the corner, you'll encounter a junction heading down to an overlook of Hardy Falls. There are two viewing platforms, both offering gorgeous views of the mighty falls. Be careful on the trail on the way down -- when it is wet, the mud can be slippery. These are likely picnic areas, if you don't mind sitting down on the platform, though there is one small bench available as well.

After soaking in the view of Hardy Falls, head back up to the original trail. Cross a bridge built by DNR work crews, and continue just a few yards up the trail to Rodney Falls. Here the trail splits. Head down and to the right to continue across a wide bridge at the base of thundering Rodney Falls. This is the Hamilton Mountain trail, and heads up to a loop around the summit crown of the mountain.

If you don't have the time, energy, or desire to continue, the trail up and to the left brings you to the Pool of Winds in just a few hundred feet. This spur trail ends on the rock just adjacent to the first tier of Rodney Falls, where hikers can bask in the spray from the falls and peer into the splash pool, all behind the safety of a handrail.

In particularly high water, it may be impossible to get all the way to the Pool of Winds viewpoint, but usually this is a great diversion for hikers of all ages, and provides and excellent reward and rest stop before turning around and heading back down the trail.

WTA Pro Tip: A CCC-built shelter is available on a first-come, first-serve basis with four outlets, overhead light, two wood stoves, and three picnic tables; perfect for a birthday party or reunion!

Hike Description Written by
Anna Roth, WTA Staff

Beacon Rock State Park - Hardy and Rodney Falls

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 45.6325, -122.0200 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From I-205 in Vancouver, drive east on State Highway 14 for 34 miles to Beacon Rock State Park. Just past the Beacon Rock State Park Headquarters, turn left up a road signed 'Camping'. The lower trailhead for Hamilton Mountain is the first parking lot you come to on the right.

There is room for 30 cars, flush toilets, a playground, and a CCC shelter.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Southwest Washington > Columbia River Gorge - WA

Washington State Parks

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Nelson -- Mountaineers)

Green Trails No. 429 Bonneville Dam

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Beacon Rock State Park - Hardy and Rodney Falls

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