Directions: Take I-84 East to Cascade Locks and cross Bridge Of The Gods ($2 toll). Take a left onto Highway 14 and drive for about 5 miles until you come to the parking area on the left shoulder of the highway.
Beacon Rock is one of our favorite hikes, it’s short but packed full of great Gorge views.
From the parking area get on the trail that takes you into the wooded area at the base of the rock. Follow the dirt trail until you get to the first of many switchbacks that takes you to the entrance gate for Beacon Rock.
Immediately you get a view of the Columbia River below and since it’s spring we saw some wildflowers growing out the side of the rock. The trail is rock, cement, and boardwalk as you head up the west side. You will pass many viewpoints along the way, once you start to get around the south side of the rock you will start seeing the train tracks below.
We saw many red-tailed hawks, osprey, and vultures soaring around throughout the hike. We also saw some other small birds in the bushes and trees growing along the trails. Once on the east side of the rock the trail turns to dirt and thats a good sign you are close to the top.
There is a small set of steps that takes you to the very top. At the top there are a few big rocks that make for a nice place to rest or eat lunch. It’s a pretty small area and can get packed pretty quickly.
Head back out the way you came in.
Distance: 2 miles (easy)
Elevation: 700 feet (moderate)
Pet Friendly: Yes
Good For: With all the switchbacks and elevation this may not be the best hike for small kids and older folks.
Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area
Parking Fee: $10 Discovery Pass
Popular: Yes especially on nice weekends