Late in February we had a rare sunny day in the Gorge, and I decided to stretch my legs with a new hike. I chose Hamilton Mountain Loop. The hike guides I looked at put the loop at 7.5 miles. My phone told me I did more than 10. But it also showed me doing a lot of zigs, zags, circles and a few detours off the edge of cliffs. So I’ll go with the 7.5 miles.
The trail was partly covered in snow at times, but not dangerous. I had microspikes and an ice axe in my pack, but never took them out. Hardy and Rodney waterfalls early on are great, especially the Pool of Winds above Hardy. The best views came before and after the summit, which has a good view, too. But it was packed with members of a hiking group who were being far too social for my taste. I moved past them and had my lunch on the saddle where it was quiet and really scenic.
This could be a great, quick out and back to see the falls and the first exposed viewpoints. Or an early season leg stretcher the way I did it. Just a couple of hikes like this one would be good preparation before jumping into longer Gorge hikes like Table Mountain, Tanner Butte or Wahtum Lake.