Dog Friendly Trail: Winding our Way up Beacon Rock

Beacon Rock HighBeacon Rock is a 848 foot basalt column on the Washington State side of the Columbia River. A dog friendly trail winds it’s way up to the top of the rock.

Quick geology lesson: Beacon Rock once formed the center of a volcano. During the last ice age, when the softer rock around it was scraped away by water and ice, this harder inner core was left sticking out of the landscape.

This was our second stop for our 100-mile road trip game on the way to BlogPaws in Las Vegas. I had never been to Beacon Rock and I wasn’t really sure that Chester and Gretel would be able to climb it.

My doubt wasn’t because it was steep – they have climbed some super steep trails before – but was because the trail was described as a “boardwalk with handrails” or “a platform  hanging off the side of the rock”. Chester doesn’t like to walk on planks where he can see the ground below and I wasn’t sure if this “boardwalk” would have gaps. It turns out that there weren’t.

Beacon Rock State Park Trail

Beacon Rock Trail Switchbacks

Since this was just a “quick break” in our road trip, we were kind of in a hurry to get to the top. That didn’t stop us from catching highlights of the trail though.

Beacon Rock Chester

Beacon Rock Gretel

View from Beacon Rock Trail, Columbia Gorge

Chester and Gretel had no problem on the trail. It turns out that there are not gaps between the planks. There is just a handrail made of metal pipe or fencing (depending where you are on the trail). This is not a good hike for someone afraid of heights and is definitely a place where you want to be sure your dog is on a leash…a tight leash.

For more photos, and a trip report from our doggy friend Sage, check out Up a Rock.

Trail Stats:

Trail Name: Beacon Rock
Distance: 2.0 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Highest Point: 848 feet
Permits and Passes: Discover Pass is Required

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. This is so gorgeous. What an amazing trek. I’m terrified of heights, but would love to see how I would do, because that view is amazing.

    1. If I was afraid of heights, I would suggest staring at the rock – instead of looking out at the river – until you get to the top:)

  2. Sigh. That looks lovely. I love your hikes and pics. My dogs have trouble with planks too. Glad Chester did not have to worry about that. Just beautiful.

    1. Yeah. I usually have to carry Chester over sections of boardwalks where he can see through the cracks to what is below. I think it messes with his little head 🙂

  3. I am very afraid of heights but I would try to make it at least part way up. It’s a gorgeous view.

    1. i don’t know how “popular” it is. I actually had never heard of it until recently but, then again, I live 3 hours North of there. It just happens that we planned to stop during our trip to BlogPaws and later saw posts by Mr. N, etc that they had gone. What a coincidence 🙂

  4. Wow – I don’t think we could do that without lots of stops on the way! Worth the trip for the view at the top though!!

    Harvey Button

  5. Wow, those views are spectacular! You guys in the US have some really incredible nature, a lot of our beautiful spots in Australia are in national parks and dogs aren’t allowed in. Boo!

    1. It’s the same here Joanna – dogs arent allowed on National Parks. Well, they are often allowed along roads and in parking lots but that is no fun 🙂

      Luckily we have a lot of great areas like this that are State Parks and Forest Service Lands where we CAN hike. Do you not have an equivalent in Australia?

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