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Archer Mountain

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to Archer Mountain from Dalton Point on the Oregon side of the Columbia River (bobcat)
The summit of Archer Mountain (bobcat)


Archer Mountain is the westernmost of a quartet of similarly formed basalt prominences on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, the others being Hamilton Mountain, Table Mountain, and Greenleaf Peak. All are the result of layers of Columbia River Basalts backflowing up creek valleys. Softer strata between them are now highly eroded into expansive bowls or deep creek valleys.

Archer Mountain is divided between two jurisdictional bodies: the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ Columbia Falls Natural Area Preserve. The preserve, which covers the upper cliffs and reaches of High Valley as well as Archer Falls is off limits to the public, and protects two state threatened plants, four sensitive plant species, the Larch Mountain salamander, and nine endemic plant species. However, Archer Mountain’s summit, the cliffs facing the Columbia River, and the entrance to High Valley are all part of the national forest, and a network of user trails will take you to these destinations.

Archer Mountain was dragged out of obscurity when embers of the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire jumped the river and created the only part of that burn on the Washington side. The rough trail system suffered as a result, but has since been refurbished with good signage and better trail treads. The fire spread just beyond the viewless summit of the mountain. Views are limited from here, but there are some downed trees that serve as benches.

The prominence was named after Finch R. Archer, an Englishman who was granted title to 178 acres at the foot of the mountain in 1901. Archer homesteaded on the west side of Archer Creek. He had been special agent to Quinault Indian Reservation, and was later appointed as Warden of the infamous McNeil Island Penitentiary in Puget Sound.

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Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

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