A week after Eagle Creek, we decided to try Hamilton Mountain (also in the Gorge). Our friends Nikolos and Nate came with us for this one too. This is a good, relatively easy hike, although less scenic than other trails we’ve been on. I’m guessing it’s a lot prettier in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming.
Columbia River Gorge (Washington side)
Summit at 2,488 feet
Total hike distance: 7.4 mile loop
Total elevation gain: 2,058 feet
Click for full GPS data
This hike starts climbing right away, getting right into the switchbacks. Luckily we didn’t have to go far for the first payoff – only one mile in for the waterfalls!
There are actually three named waterfalls on this section of the creek, but we only caught one. You can take a side trail to the lowest one, Hardy Falls, which we didn’t do. There is another trail that heads to Pool of the Winds, a really cool spot at the base of a fall where water plunges into an enclosed whirpool, forcing air to blow out through a big gap in the rocks. You can walk right up to it and feel the mist and air rushing out on your face, but it would be hard to take a picture without soaking the camera… so, I didn’t. 😦 I can imagine this spot would be great on a hot summer day, to cool down mid-hike. We also passed Rodney Falls, which is just along the main trail.
We summited pretty quickly, so we grabbed a spot to hang out and Paul made another awesome trail lunch. The summit is covered in a lot of brush so views, especially to the west, can be obscured.
One final shot at the summit before heading back down
The loop descends on the other side of the summit to a ridge with great views to the east and west. It then continues on to an old abandoned road, which takes you most of the way back down.
A solid hike for sure, but not sure I’d jump at the chance to do it again. Of course, Hamilton Mountain had the disadvantage of Eagle Creek still being fresh in our minds, which was just breathtaking… so perhaps I am being too hard on it. 🙂