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On a cool and cloudy morning I parked at the Hardy Ridge Equestrian Trailhead in Beacon Rock State Park. My goal was to do an 8 1/2 loop hike to the open saddle underneath Hamilton Mountain.
I began an ascent mostly on old logging roads on the west side of Hardy Ridge, dropping to a bridge over Hardy Creek in about two miles.
Turing left, I began the pleasant one-mile hike up the east side of the creek, finally ascending the canyon wall. Following a short, steep side trail, I reached the 2,390-foot top of the ridge, only 48 feet lower than the summit of Hamilton Mountain.
From there it was an easy 1 3/4-mile hike to the 2,100-foot saddle below Hamilton Mountain. Clouds covered the Columbia River up and down the Columbia River Gorge, adding an ethereal beauty to the views. A cold wind had really picked up, buffeting me around on top of the saddle.
On the three-mile return hike, I enjoyed getting out of the wind and observing all the luscious rainforest along the trail.
I remember hiking Hamilton Mtn. when I was a 16 y/o with lots of energy and stamina. Beautiful hike. Thanks for the pix. I thought the descent was sooo steep that my toes would come through the front of my boots! Really enjoy your posts. Don Brecht
Thanks for the kind words Don. Hamilton Mountain, the saddle below Hamilton Mountain, and Phlox Point on Hardy Ridge all make for great outings this time of the year.