Western Gorge, Washington
View of Beacon Rock from the trail (photographer: Michael Drewry)
Hike Details
Out and back
1.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
250 feet
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
Trailhead Pass:
Trail Details
Beautiful ViewsCultural HistoryCultural HistoryIce Age FloodsIce Age Floods
River to Rock Trail in Beacon Rock State Park
The River-to-Rock trail is the newest trail in Beacon Rock State Park and provides a wonderful opportunity to connect to different aspects of the park by foot. It links up the trail to the summit of Beacon Rock with the one-mile universal accessible trail at Doestch Day Use Area lined placards describing the Ice Age Floods, Lewis and Clark, and local history.
One can begin this trail at the trailhead on Hwy 14 (northern trailhead), just west of the trail to the summit of Beacon Rock, or at Doestch Day Use Area (southern trailhead).
This hike description begins at Doestch Day Use Area. The trailhead is marked by a sign, beneath the railroad tracks, on the left of the road that leads to an RV camp. Cross the creek on a footbridge; then ascend a few short switchbacks, after which the trail levels out and gradually climbs northward. It passes through an oddly-mixed forest of large Douglas Firs and Alders with a lush understory of vine maples, huckleberries and ferns. At .10 miles from the trailhead, you will come to the mossy remains of a small, brick building of unknown origin.  It is thought to have been a storage building of some sort – perhaps to hold dynamite used by the Corps of Engineers for projects in the area.  Across the trail is a walnut tree, though nothing is known about who planted it.
In another 0.1 mile you’ll reach an unmarked trail junction. You can see the remains of Riddell Lake through the trees.  It is mostly silted in and overgrown.  The right fork skirts the lake to the east; the left circles it to the west. I suggest the left.  As you move around the lake there are good views of Beacon Rock through the trees.
Riddell Lake was the site of a summer home for the family of H. H. Riddell, a prominent lawyer who practiced in The Dalles and Portland. He was postmaster for The Dalles and also worked with the Department of Public Health in efforts to eliminate mosquitoes in Portland and throughout the Gorge in the 1920’s. He was also co-founder of Oregon Light and Power, Portland’s first electric utility.  Nothing remains of the Riddell home site.
In 0.2 mile the trails rejoin at the north end of the lake. Continue on past some power lines, ascending slightly; then descend to reach the northern trailhead on Hwy 14 in .35 miles.
Turn right here and reach the Beacon Rock Trailhead in 300’.
- Written by Jim Chase
Beacon Rock State Park Map
Hike by Bus! The Skamania County WET Bus stops at this trailhead. Plan your next trip using this service with our suggested hike itinerary. Learn more.

Directions & Travel Tips

Beacon Rock Trailhead:  Cross Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks ($2 toll). Turn left/west onto WA Hwy 14. You will pass Beacon Rock in 6.8 miles. Continue another .7 miles and turn left on Doetsch Ranch Road (signed). Go past the Day use Area and park in the large parking lot (Washington Discover Pass required; available for $10 at the Day Use Area or the boat dock). The trailhead is under a passage beneath the railroad tracks. There is a sign. Alternatively, drive east on Highway 14 just past MP 34. Doetsch Road is 1.7 miles past the Skamania General Store, and .7 miles before you would arrive at Beacon Rock. Turn right there and go past the Day Use Area to park in the large parking lot (Washington Discover Pass required; available for $10 at the Day Use Area or the boat dock). The trailhead is under a passage beneath the railroad tracks. There is a sign.