Hike To The Summit of Beacon Rock

Details

Distance

1.8 miles

Elevation Gain

700 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Brian Heifferon

A unique 1.8 mile out-and-back with great views. Summit one of the tallest monoliths in North America. Climb nearly 700 feet up scaffolding-like switch backs.

Beacon Rock is one of the most recognizable landmarks along the Columbia River Gorge. It’s a 848-foot basalt monolith (singular piece of rock) that was once the core of an ancient volcano. To access the rock, park in a developed parking area at the rock’s base that has room for about 30 cars. You’ll take a short stroll through a forested trail before you hit the rock.

Once you reach the rock, the trail abruptly heads more or less straight up along a series of 52 or so zig-zagging switch backs. Considering you have 848 feet to climb in less than a mile, the grade is surprisingly mellow. While the sight of this crazy trail winding up the side of the rock is itself a sight to behold, the panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge are the real reward.

The views from the summit can are a bit obscured by trees, but well worth the effort. This is a mostly exposed hike and can get hot during the summer months, but for every other occasion, it’s best to pack a jacket (it’s typically pretty windy).

Photos: Photo: Jeff Gunn

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Know for

Hiking
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
River
Scenic

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Reviews

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Beautiful View!

It's a great little hike with a sweet view as payoff for the trek up. Lots of switchbacks make the gain manageable for all skill levels. Plus there's a sturdy railing all the way up. On busier weekends don't plan to hang around up on top for long...the lookout is pretty small and can get congested quickly. But if you manage to hit the trail when it's not so crowded, pack a snack or a lunch to enjoy at the top.

🥈 Contributor

over 4 years ago

Rails Rails Rails

Just a short and easy hike along rail switch backs. The view is not amazing, but is satisfying.

Quick, Worthwhile Jaunt

I enjoyed the views of the gorge basically every step of the way up. The 'trail' (if you can call it that) is mind boggling in its elaborate construction. A solid rail gives you peace of mind but maybe not so good for little ones or those afraid of heights. It's a neat little hike, steep of course, but it's a cool piece of history. The trail was repaired after the 2015 windstorm and as of summer of 2016 it was open again.

1074 total saves

3.6/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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