The beautiful hike up Hamilton Mountain has it all: waterfalls,cliffs, deep forests and stunning views of the Gorge. The trail begins with a moderate climb, going thru second growth Douglas Firs. There are nice views of Hamilton Mountain, & Bonneville Dam from a bench about a half mile in.
About one mile from the trailhead, you’ll come to the waterfall area. There is only one creek here, but there are three named waterfalls. First, you can take a side trail to the right for a limited view of Hardy Falls, the lowest of the waterfalls. Back on the main trail, continue a few hundred yards and go left on a side trail that ends at a railed lookout to a view of the two upper falls, Pool of Winds, and Rodney Falls. Return to the main trail and switchback down to a sturdy footbridge below the falls and down to the footbridge.
Beyond the Hardy Creek ridge, climb uphill less than a quarter mile to a junction with Hardy Creek Trail. Take the “more difficult” route to the right and climb the steep trail thru the forest. Soon, the trail switches back benieth the first of Hamiltons many cliff faces. Follow the steep switchbacks leading up a cliffed edged ridge, and you will be rewarded with spectacular views across the Columbia River at a spot locally known as “Little Hamilton Mountain”. One more steep mile to go until you reach a T-shaped junction at the summit ridgecrest. The path to the right is a dead end at Hamilton’s summit, 2488′, but the view there is somewhat obscured by brush. Turn around and follow the ridgecrest trail downhill toward the north plateau with better viewings of Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens and Table Mountain, as well as the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.