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Beacon Rock State Park Profile

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Published on Oct 4, 2011

Beacon Rock State Park is located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Beacon Rock is the core of an ancient volcano. The mile-long trail to its summit provides outstanding panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge. The park has over 20 miles of roads and trails open to hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use.

"Beacon Rock" was originally named by Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the Pacific Ocean on October 31, 1805. It was near Beacon Rock that they first measured tidal influences from the ocean on the Columbia River.

In 1811, Alexander Ross of the John Jacob Astor expedition called the rock "Inoshoack Castle." The rock was known as "Castle Rock" until, in 1916, the United States Board of Geographic Names restored the name "Beacon Rock."

Henry J. Biddle purchased the rock in order to build a trail to the top. The trail was built, and in 1935 his heirs turned the rock over to the state for use as a park. Additional development was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The park offers a one-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 opportunities for rock climbing, except where it interferes with nesting raptors (primarily on the south face). The presence of the falcon nest requires that the south face be closed to technical rock activity February 1 to mid-July annually; open the rest of the year. The east face is closed year-round due to environmental sensitivity.

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.

The park offers one boat launch, 916 feet of moorage dock and a boat pumpout.

A daily watercraft launching permit may be purchased at the park.

Annual permits also may be purchased at State Parks Headquarters in Olympia, at region offices, online, and at parks when staff is available.

There are six electrical hookup sites for boats at the moorage dock (these sites are closed during the winter).

Day-Use facilities:

There are two kitchen shelters with electricity in the park, plus two sheltered and 53 unsheltered picnic tables.

The lower picnic-area kitchen shelter is located at Hamilton Mountain Trailhead, available first come, first served. Water and power are available in the shelter.

The upper picnic-area kitchen shelter is available by reservation for groups of up to 100 people. Water and power are on-site. To reserve, call (888) CAMPOUT or (888) 226-7688.

Campsite Information:

The main campground has 26 tent sites. 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 utility sites that provide electricity, water and sewer. Follow signs off Highway 14 (near mile post 34) to the watercraft launch area; follow the signs to the RV campsites. The sites have a maximum length of 40 feet. These campsites are open year round.

The equestrian campsites, located at the equestrian trailhead, feature two standard sites 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.

Winter facilities at the moorage area include 2 tent sites, one shower and one restroom. Overnight moorage and the boat launch are available year-round.

For additional information on this, or any other Washington State Park, please visit www.parks.wa.gov or call the Washington State Parks Information Center at 360*902-8844.

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