Hike Distance: 9.2 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 256.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2377 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 34482 feet
I felt like a nice long hike in Beacon Rock State Park, and invited my friend Marshall to go along . He’s been to the summit of Hamilton Mt. many times but has never gone to the back of the park, and the the west side trails. So we parked at the equestrian TH as our starting point. The wind was significant, and not expected, and we both put on another layer to keep warm!!
We first ascended up to the Saddle area of Hamilton Mt., as that’s where the best views are located. Most of the elevation gain was achieved during this first section of the hike. As we arrived at the Saddle it was a bit of a surprise to see some snow. I’d thought the snow had been melting but it wasn’t all gone.
The views at the saddle were amazing, but the wind gusts were equally strong. We only stayed long enough to take a few pictures, and then headed north from the saddle on one of the roads that parallels the ridge. These roads were mostly snow covered, but very easy to traverse. After that we descended, at the north side of the park, to the portion of the Upper Hardy Creek Trail that parallels Hardy Creek. The snow here was a bit deeper, and quite consolidated, but not a real problem to walk upon.
We reached the trail intersection that led to the horse bridge, and crossed over to the west side of Hardy Creek. We both loved this heavily forested area as the mood here is wonderful. We followed this trail until we met the main trail, that led back to our cars. On the way back we also went on a small loop trail, and then proceeded back to our cars.
It was a wonderful day, with blue skies and plenty of wind. It seemed much colder than it actually was, but we were prepared. My only gripe for the day is that I brought my new Olympus camera, but forgot to re-install the memory card, so all pictures were taken with my phone. Very few people seen all day, and that’s always a pleasure!