"One Huge Rock: Landmark of the Columbia River" Beacon Rock State Park by glabah

Beacon Rock State Park Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 75 photos

NOTE: As of July 1, 2011, a day use fee has been implemented at many Washington State parks. This fee is $10 per day, or a $30 fee for a year pass. There is a $5 fee in addition to the annual pass fee if purchased at one of the many resellers. Please see my Discover Pass tip for a little more about this. For a bit more about Washington State parks in general, please see my Washington State Parks tip.

At 848 feet tall (258 meters tal), Beacon Rock is an impressive piece of stone sticking out of the ground next to the Columbia River. The Lewis & Clark expedion noted it in 1805, and realized that it happened to be located at the point where tides from the Pacific started to affect the flow of the river. Several other names, including Castle Rock, persisted into the early 1920s, but in the end the name was settled on what Lewis & Clark seemed to prefer.

Originally slated for demolition as part of a construction project, the area around the rock became a state park in the 1930s. The state of Washington originally did not want to create a state park here, so the family that owned the land and the rock offered it to the State of Oregon on the other side of the river instead. Before Oregon could accept or reject, the State of Washington decided to change its mind. Washington State did not want to have a state park owned by the State of Oregon in Washington. Or would the land have extended the State of Oregon into Washington? Too many questions, and it is for the best that the State of Washington eventually decided that this monument was worth preserving.

There are a limited number of camping sites here. Only two of them are open all year, and those are intended for the use of the boaters that use the boat ramp.

Recreational opportunities include a number of trails, including one to the top of Beacon Rock itself (probably the most astonishing hiking trail in the northwest) and another that leads to the top of Hamilton Mountain, which is on National Forest land next to Beacon Rock.

  • Intro Updated Sep 8, 2011
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Reviews (11)

Comments (3)

  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    The PNW is amazing country isn't it..interesting story about how Beacon Rock State Park came to be...bureaucracy is incredible isn it?

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Wished I lived nearer so I could do this hike, it looks great, and lovely views. You have taken lovely photo's, especially like the one with the fog.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Dec 4, 2009 at 11:50 PM

    That's indeed one fine hiking region!! Love the views from high up and the whole landscape with Columbia River :-)


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