Hiking Project Logo

blueBlack Hamilton Mountain Trail

Trail

3.5 mile 5.7 kilometer point to point
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,039' 621 m
Descent: -365' -111 m
High: 2,394' 730 m
Low: 411' 125 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 40% (22°)

Dogs

Leashed
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Eric Ashley

A steep but rewarding trail complete with cliffs, waterfalls, ridgelines, and views.

Eric Ashley

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

A Discover Pass is required at the trailhead.

Description

The Hamilton Mountain Trail begins by immediately thrusting hikers into a beautiful forest of Douglas fir, from which they must climb steadily to a power-line clearing. This broad clearing provides the first views into the Columbia River Gorge and the nearby Bonneville Dam before the trail dives back into the trees.

At roughly a mile from the trailhead, Hardy Creek feeds a trio of closely spaced waterfalls. Up first, a brief connector trail brings hikers to a somewhat-limited view of Hardy Falls. Ahead, another connector climbs to a guard-railed viewpoint overlooking Pool of the Winds and Rodney Falls. Back on the main trail, the Hardy Creek Bridge curves near the base of Rodney Falls for a close view that's complete with cooling spray.

After the bridge, a series of switchbacks brings the trail to an intersection with the Hardy Creek Trail. In the warmer months, this section fills with ferns, Oregon grape, and thimbleberries. And in the fall, the yellow leaves of maple trees contrast nicely with the bold green of fir. Keep right at the junction to remain on the "more difficult" Hamilton Mountain Trail.

Soon, the trail passes beneath towering columns of basalt as it climbs to the top along tightly packed switchbacks. The steep climb is rewarded by sweeping views from the edge of a cliff face. This area is referred to as "Little Hamilton Mountain" by locals.

From here, the trail heads to the left before returning to the crest of the ridge, where it alternates between narrow ridgelines and tight switchbacks as it climbs to the summit of Hamilton Mountain. At the top, a short spur trail veers right to the actual summit.

To the left, the trail descends the ridgeline on its way to "The Saddle." This viewpoint provides even better views of Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, Table Mountain, Bonneville Dam, and the Columbia River. It's the end of the Hamilton Mountain Trail and a great spot to enjoy lunch if the wind is cooperating.

This content was contributed by the Friends of the Columbia Gorge. To find more hikes they recommend and to learn about their efforts to support the Columbia Gorge, click here.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Flora & Fauna

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow hikers know what's here.

Contacts

Land Manager: Washington State Parks

Rate This Trail

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In

Check-Ins

Apr 25, 2019
L Schmoobz
Partial
Apr 20, 2019
Karl W
Apr 1, 2019
Esmeralda Moreno
1h 00m
Jun 6, 2018
Kalen Walkington
Feb 5, 2018
Aaron Baker
Cole, Flaffy, and myself. Flaffy's first time in the gorge 7mi
Jan 27, 2018
Aaron Baker
First time on this trail, needed to get out and hike after 2 days of finals. With: Aunt Heather, Aaron 3mi
Mar 8, 2017
Tabi Anne
Mar 4, 2017
Sudarshan Karki

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 3 votes

#7743

Overall
  4.0 from 3 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#392

in Washington

#7,743

Overall
19 Views Last Month
267 Since Oct 18, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
0%
100%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking