Beacon Rock State Park in Washington is a breathtakingly beautiful place to visit any time of year, but in winter, it takes on an even more magical feeling. With snow-covered trails and stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge, Beacon Rock State Park is the perfect spot to take a winter hike or camping trip.
In this guide, we'll explore all the things you can do at Beacon Rock State Park in winter and provide you with helpful tips to make the most of your visit.
Beacon Rock State Park is located in Washington State, just off Highway 14, the Historic Columbia River Highway. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, Beacon Rock State Park offers stunning views and plenty of outdoor activities for all levels of adventurers. With its close proximity to Portland, Oregon, it makes an ideal spot for a winter day trip.
When visiting Beacon Rock State Park in winter, however, it's important to be aware that Highway 14 can be treacherous at times. Snow and ice can make driving conditions dangerous, so it's best to check the weather forecast before heading out. It's also important to remember that most of the park is closed during the winter season.
Fees and Passes
Visitors to Beacon Rock State Park in winter must have a valid Discover Pass to park in the designated areas. The Discover Pass is an annual or day-use permit that allows for parking in state parks, national parks, and other designated recreation sites. The pass is available for purchase online, at a Washington State Parks authorized sales vendor, or at the park itself. Additionally, those who plan to camp overnight at Beacon Rock State Park must pay a camping fee.
Beacon Rock State Park is open year-round for visitors. In winter, the park is open from 8:00 a.m. to dusk, seven days a week. All visitors are required to check in at the Visitor Center or the campground host prior to entering the park.
Things to Do
Beacon Rock State Park in winter offers a wide variety of activities to enjoy. Hiking is popular, as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Many people also enjoy exploring the park’s forests and nature trails. You can also take a guided tour of the historic basalt columns or simply take in the stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge. Fishing is allowed in some areas of the park, and you may even spot a bald eagle or two.
Other activities include geocaching and wildlife watching. Visitors can also rent a kayak or canoe to explore the waterways of the Columbia River Gorge. There are also plenty of picnic tables throughout the park and plenty of benches to take a break and soak in the views. Whether you are looking for an adventure or just a peaceful getaway, Beacon Rock State Park in winter is sure to provide something for everyone.
Tips for Visiting
1. Dress in layers and prepare for the elements – Winter at Beacon Rock State Park can be cold, so make sure to dress appropriately for your visit. Wear several thin layers of clothing and bring a warm coat and hat.
2. Check the weather forecast – Weather conditions can change quickly, so check the forecast before heading to Beacon Rock State Park in winter. If the weather is too severe, it’s best to stay indoors and come back another time.
3. Wear appropriate shoes – For a winter visit to Beacon Rock State Park, wear warm waterproof shoes with good treads. Boots or hiking shoes are best, as these will provide you with the most traction on slippery surfaces.
4. Bring a map – To get the most out of your visit, bring a map of Beacon Rock State Park in winter. This will help you plan the best route for your hike and ensure you don’t get lost.
5. Don’t forget the sunscreen – Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you should skip the sunscreen! Wear sunscreen on any exposed skin during your visit to Beacon Rock State Park in winter, as this will protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
6. Bring a flashlight – If you plan to stay at Beacon Rock State Park after dark, make sure you bring a flashlight so that you can see your way around. This will help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable visit.
What to Do Near Beacon Rock State Park
Beacon Rock State Park in winter is located in the Columbia River Gorge, providing a plethora of outdoor activities and sites to explore. From the park, visitors can take advantage of the surrounding beauty by heading to some nearby attractions. Here are some ideas of things to do near Beacon Rock State Park in winter:
The park provides a number of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels, including the 4.5-mile Beacon Rock Loop Trail and the 8.4-mile Hamilton Mountain Trail. Make sure to pack warm clothes and sturdy shoes for your trek!
Visit Wind Mountain Ranch, located just outside the park, for some outdoor ice skating. You can also take a horse-drawn sleigh ride around the ranch for an extra special winter experience.
The Columbia River Gorge is home to dozens of waterfalls, many of which can be easily accessed from Beacon Rock State Park. Make sure to bring your camera for a chance to snap some breathtaking photos of these natural wonders.
Shopping and Dining
The nearby town of Stevenson is a great place to pick up some souvenirs or enjoy a tasty meal. From traditional diner fare to international cuisines, Stevenson has something to satisfy every palate.