Hike To The Summit of Beacon Rock

Washington Beacon Rock

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

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Light jacket
  • Water bottle
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More




Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



1.8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

700 Feet



Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

3 months ago

Rails Rails Rails

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

3 months ago

3 months ago

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.

3 months ago

6 months ago

Warning: The trail up Beacon Rock is currently closed

Beacon may not be a huge hike but it's a fun little hike that winds right on up the mountain side with great views out along the entire way. However, the trail "broke" this year and remains closed as for Spring, 2016.

6 months ago

over 1 year ago

Easy, great day hike for families, and awesome views of the Gorge.

over 1 year ago

More Adventures Nearby

Hike Mount Catherine

Washington / Mount Catherine Trailhead

Start off on the extremely rough Forest Service 9070 road. Follow this for just over 4 miles until you see a sign for trail #1348 on the right.

Bryan Carroll
31 Saves

Hike to Gem Lake

Washington / Snow Lake Trailhead

The trail to Gem Lake lies along the same trail that passes by the incredibly popular Snow Lake.

Shelby Pothier
24 Saves

Hike to Elk Pass via "the Knife"

Washington / Snowgrass Flat Trailhead

This is a rather long out and back, however, it can also be done as a backpack, which would give you more time to explore the Goat Rocks Wilderness, which is highlighted in other Adventures.

Isaac Desautels
20 Saves