hike: Hardy Creek loop
This loop in Beacon Rock State Park combines multiple trails for a quiet hike in the forest next to Hardy Creek.
distance: 7.3 miles (loop)
elevation gain: 1,240 ft.
best season: fall, winter, spring
drive time from Portland: 1 hour
parking pass: Discover Pass
hike description: OregonHikers: Hardy Creek Loop
Besides the well known paths that lead up Beacon Rock, Hamilton Mountain, and Hardy Ridge, Beacon Rock State Park contains additional trails that make creating hike loops of varying distances possible. This loop starts at the less crowded Equestrian trailhead and instead of climbing to viewpoints, it features mossy forests and Hardy Creek as highlights. Most of the trails in this area are former roads, and there’s even a vault toilet about half way in on the hike.
We did the loop in this order (see the map below):
- Equestrian Trail to Loop Trail
- Loop Trail back to Equestrian Trail
- Equestrian Trail to Upper Hardy Creek Trail
- Upper Hardy Creek Trail to Hardy Bridge Trail
- Hardy Bridge Trail to East Hardy Ridge Trail
- East Hardy Ridge Trail to Equestrian Trail and the trailhead
Starting at the Equestrian trailhead, we hiked for about a mile on an old roadbed to the Loop Trail.
The Loop Trail is a short section that leads back to the Equestrian Trail. At the Upper Hardy Creek Trail junction, we took the trail on the right and hiked next to Hardy Creek. About halfway on this section is a vault toilet – seemingly in the middle of nowhere but also convenient.
At the top of the loop, we crossed a large wooden bridge over Hardy Creek.
Mossy covered trees in a boggy section of the trail.