Hike 72
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Hardy Ridge Hike
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Map of the Hardy Ridge Hike

Length: 10 mile loop
Elevation Change: 2500 feet approx.
Season:  Almost Year Round
Difficulty:    Difficult
Permit:   Washington State Day - Pass Required
GPS:   N45 38.4528, W122 1.9338
Latitude:   45.64088
Longitude:   -122.03223

This is a fairly newly constructed trail that uses both equestrian and foot trail portions to reach the highest point of Hardy Ridge.

This hike is located within the Beacon Rock State Park, and is accessable via Kueffler Road, which is just west of the Beacon Rock parking area on Hwy 14. Follow Kueffler Road uphill until you see the Equestrian Trailhead sign, and turn onto this road which leads to the trailhead.

The hike begins at the newly developed trailhead, complete with new restroom facilities. For the first few miles, the trail follows an old roadbed, which makes the hike conversational... in that you can walk beside a friend and chat.

The hike is presented as a loop and I will describe it going clock-wise.

At the first junction, bear a steep left and continue along an old roadbed. However the trail will begin to look more like a trail than a roadbed as it climbs up the western flank of Hardy Ridge.

At about the three mile mark, the trail suddenly leaves any resemblance to an old road bed and climbs like a home sick angel. Better have strong legs and lots of water, cause this is aerobic indeed.

In about a half mile the trail comes to a junction. Bear to the left at this point, but upon return, bear once again to the left and head down the east side of Hardy Ridge.

The trail now climbs steeply along the ridgeline of the moutain and views become more and more frequent. The summit is a steep rocky outcropping and can be seen over a half mile away as you follow the ever more challenging trail.

The rewards are well worth the sweat and tears it may take you to get to the top. In season the wildflowers are abundant. In all seasons the views are terrific.

Returning, head back to the junction described ealier, and bear left, heading down the east side of Hardy Ridge. Soon you will be walking on another old roadbed, which will take you all the way back to your starting place.

The equestrian trail is actually shorter than the foot trail, but you can use either.

Looking east toward Table Mountain from Hardy Ridge
Looking east toward Table Mountain from Hardy Ridge

How to get there:

Hardy Ridge Trailhead in Beacon Rock State Park: Cross Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks ($2 toll). Turn left/west onto WA Hwy 14 and travel seven miles. Watch for Beacon Rock - it will tower in front of you as you approach the state park which is near mile marker 35. Just past Beacon Rock turn right onto Kueffler Road. The trailhead is about 1/2 mile up this road on the right side.

From Vancouver, travel east on WA Hwy 14 for 35 miles. As you near the state park you will begin to see Beacon Rock. Turn left onto Kueffler Road. The trailhead is about 1/2 mile up this road on the right side.

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