A dizzying mile-long switchback trail takes you up 848-foot Beacon Rock, but that’s not the only way to a tip-top experience. Rock climbing and hiking to waterfalls are the rage at this park, where there are plenty of vantage points for eagle-eye views. Cyclists and horseback riders also will find trails to the vistas from Hamilton Mountain saddle, and boaters can delight in the majesty of Beacon Rock from the Columbia River.
Beacon Rock overlooks a breathtaking section of the Columbia River Gorge, a deep, wide gouge in the earth carved by Ice Age floods. Now, the mighty Columbia rushes down to the ocean in a froth of whitecaps, bisecting Washington and Oregon, with walls of columnar basalt and mountains rising thousands of feet on both sides.
The park’s proximity to Portland and Vancouver make it popular with locals and visitors from around the world.
No matter what activities you choose at Beacon Rock, you will be awed by this special place and its stunning surroundings.
Beacon Rock State Park is a 4,464-acre, year-round camping park located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Beacon Rock itself is the core of an ancient volcano. The park includes 9,500 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Columbia River and more than 26 miles of roads and trails open to hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use.
Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
Automated pay station: This park is equipped with an automated pay station for visitors to purchase a one-day or annual Discover Pass.
The park offers a 1-mile interpretive trail at the Doetsch day-use area. The trail is ADA accessible. Additionally, there are interpretive signs about the Ice Age floods along the Beacon Rock Trail.
Beacon Rock offers excellent opportunities for rock climbing and is considered to be some of the very best "Traditional Climbing" in the northwest. Climbers do need to be aware of where and when they climb due to management restrictions. Only the northwest corner is open to climbing year round. The east face is closed year round due to environmental sensitivity. The rest of Beacon Rock is closed to rock climbing from Feb. 1 to mid-July annually to protect sensitive wildlife habitat. Call the park at (509) 427-8265 for more information.
The horse and bike trails are multi-use, with hikers allowed.
There is fishing on the lower Columbia River, below Bonneville Dam, for sturgeon, salmon, steelhead, bass and walleye.
The park is a popular site for weddings.
A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information, or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Located in Skamania County on the Columbia River, Beacon Rock offers one boat launch, 916 feet of moorage dock and a boat pumpout.
Launching a boat at a state park requires one of the following:
• An annual launch permit (Natural Investment Permit; or
• An annual Discover Pass and a daily launch permit; or
• A one-day Discover Pass and a daily launch permit.
Annual permits may be purchased at State Parks Headquarters in Olympia, at region offices, online, and at parks when staff is available. Additional information can be found in the Boating Program.
Latitude: 45º 38' 57.48" N (45.6493) Longitude: 122º 0' 44.63" W (-122.0124)
There are six electrical hookup sites for boats at the moorage dock (these sites are closed during the winter). The fee for these moorage sites is the standard moorage fee plus an additional $6 per night.
Winter facilities at the moorage area include two tent sites, one shower and one restroom. The boat pumpout and electrical hookup sites on the moorage dock are closed for the winter. Overnight moorage and the boat launch are available year round. Moorage fees are charged year round for mooring at docks, floats and buoys from 1 p.m. to 8 a.m. Daily and annual permits are available.
Beacon Rock State Park is a public marina with an accessible pumpout. The facility is open from May through October. Hours of operations are from dawn to dusk. There is a floating dock available year around. A Sani Sailor pumpout is available at this facility. A slip is available for pumpout usage. Access to this pumpout is limited to vessels with a length of no more than 65 feet. A stationary pumpout is located on the moorage dock.
The main campground has 28 standard campsites. It is an older camp in a forested setting suited more for tents than RVs. There are a limited number of sites that accommodate RVs over 20 feet. This campground closes seasonally.
The Woodard Creek Campground has five full-hookup campsites that provide electricity, water, and sewer. The sites have a maximum length of 40 feet. These campsites are open year round.
There are two standard equestrian campsites located at the equestrian trailhead that will accommodate a horse trailer each, a hi-line for horses, livestock water and a CXT vault toilet. There is no potable water and no electricity. Primitive camping fee applies. All campsites are first come, first served.
Check-in time is 2:30 p.m.
Check-out time is 1 p.m.
Winter facilities at the moorage area include two tent sites, one shower and one restroom. Overnight moorage and the boat launch are available year round.
The group camp is for tent and RV use. It accommodates 200 guests. Facilities include one kitchen shelter with power and one picnic shelter. There are two Adirondack (three-sided) sleeping shelters and two vault toilets. Showers are available in the main campground and moorage area. Fees vary with size of the group.
Beacon Rock, the core of a young volcano that erupted around 57,000 years ago, had a traditional cone shape until raging Ice-Age floodwaters scoured away at its flanks. Native Americans knew that it marked the last of the rapids on the Columbia River and the beginning of tidal influence from the Pacific Ocean, 150 miles away.
Lewis and Clark camped at Beacon Rock in November 1805 on their journey to the Pacific and also on their return trip in 1806. They noted the rock in their journal and gave it its present name.
Henry J. Biddle, a prominent botanist, geologist and engineer, purchased the rock and built a trail to the top between 1916 and 1918, an engineering marvel at the time. In 1935 his heirs deeded the rock to the state for use as a park.
The Civilian Conservation Corps established a camp at Beacon Rock in 1935 and developed the park’s facilities. Several of the CCC structures were constructed using advanced stone masonry and woodworking techniques. Most of their work still stands today.