Beacon Rock is a large cliff that is located along the shores of the Columbia River 30 minutes from Washougal Washington on highway 14.  The large stone monolith is one of the best features in the Columbia River Gorge to visit.  A one mile climb lets you scale the stone fortress via old ladders and staircases built by an entrepreneur several decades ago. Technical rock climbing is also popular on the face of the rock that is on the railroad tracks and Columbia River.  Some parts of the rock are closed to climbing and seasonal raptor closures are in effect in the spring.
Technical Rock Climbing

Rock climbing on Beacon Rock is limited to the South and Southeast faces.  The East face is closed to climbing as of 2011. The south face has amazing routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.12+.  The routes are multi-pitch trad climbs with some bolt and fixed protection.  The southeast Ridge is perhaps the most popular and takes several pitches up to the summit. A helmet is recommended as this area is an alpine-esque area right of a major roadway.

summit of beacon rock

View from Cliff on Beacon

When climbing on the rock it is pertinent to respect other climbers and reduce rockfall. This is a popular Columbia Gorge classic to climb so be aware of other climbers on busy weekends and other days. The rock is often wet but dries quick after northwest mists.  It is not advised to climb in inclement weather–yeah, I know, most of the year in the Northwest–but many good days dry quick after rain and summer is fantastic to climb here.  It’s usually a tad bit cooler up the Gorge than in PDX, so climbing here can be very pleasant on most summer days.

A park pass is required to climb at this area.  You can obtain this from the park office or online here.  You can check for closures and important updates from the park on their site as well.  An annual pass is $30 and a day $10.

 

Park Stats:

The park is a 100 acre park with 9,500 feet of shoreline along the Columbia river.  Hours are 8 until dusk.  You can hike fish, launch your boat, bike, climb and lots more.  There is camping at the Woodward Creek Campground.  Reservations need to be made and can be done here.  The main campground has 26 sites and the Woodward has utility sites.  There are also equestrian sites available.

History:

Lewis and Clark named the large cliff Beaten Rock when they viewed it from the Columbia.  The rock tower is the core of an ancient volcano that was weathered over time and left on the banks of the Columbia.  This is one of the most interesting geologic features in North America and can be easily explored.  The army Corps of Engineers tried to destroy the rock to use rock for a jetty a the Columbia mouth.  Three caves on the south face near the climbing routes are a product of this.

Hike to Top:

You can hike to the top of this 848 foot high beast by using a trail that was constructed by Henry Biddle who purchased the rock in 1915 and took three years to build this engineering feat to bring visitors to the top. Henry wanted to donate the rock to Washington state but they refused, when Oregon offered to take it Washington decided it would be a good offer to accept.

The hike is thrilling and passes many sheer drops and amazing views of the Columbia River Gorge.

 

Hike beacon rock