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Strawberry Island Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Birkenfeld, South Birkenfeld, Cedar Mt., Aldrich Butte, Table Mt., and Greenleaf Peak from Hamilton Island (bobcat)
Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), Hamilton Island (bobcat)
Signal crayfish (deceased) (Pacifastacus leniusculus), between Hamilton Island and Ives Island (bobcat)
Hamilton Mountain from the west shore of Hamilton Island (bobcat)
The loop described around Hamilton (Strawberry) Island (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Strawberry Island TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Clark's Viewpoint
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 3.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 150 feet
  • High Point: 165 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



Trails lead from North Bonneville around Hamilton Island, which was noted as "Strawberry Island" in the journals of Lewis and Clark, who remarked upon the abundance of strawberry runners they saw here. The current name remembers Samuel M. Hamilton, who took out a Land Claim here in 1850 and had a mountain, a creek, and an island named after him (The" island" is now connected to the mainland). This short hike is notable for its views to closeby features in the Washington Gorge, such as Beacon Rock, Hamilton Mountain, and Table Mountain, as well as some unique views across to the the Oregon side, taking in Munra Point directly across and some waterfalls not normally seen except from the Washington side of the river. Cottonwoods fringe part of the island shore, while the interior is mostly a grassy expanse. In the late summer and early fall, low river levels allow adventurous hikers to cross to Ives Island, west of Hamilton Island, and locate the remains of old fishwheels as well as make a much closer approach to Beacon Rock (See the Ives Island Add-on Hike). Also, a trail leads from the east end of the island to join the short walking circuit around the Fort Cascades site.

At the parking area, which is next to a baseball diamond, a sign says “Foul balls. Park at own risk.” Pass behind the information map, and come to the junction with the loop. Make a right on a gravel track for the Rail Pond. There are splendid views of Aldrich Butte, Table Mountain and Hamilton Mountain. A line of cottonwoods and alders separates the trail from the banks of Hamilton Creek on the right. A bench offers a view of Hamilton Mountain, and looking back, Birkenfeld Mountain, South Birkenfeld Mountain, Table Mountain, Greenleaf Peak, Aldrich Butte and Cedar Mountain are all visible. There are also views to Hamilton Creek and Beacon Rock. At the next junction, keep straight, passing the Rail Pond on the left. You'll walk through a brushy area of blackberry, alder and cottonwoods, and at a junction, you can go right for Clark’s Viewpoint. Pass by another a bench looking over Hamilton Creek and arrive at a second bench at the west point of the island. There’s a view ahead to Beacon Rock; Pierce Island is straight ahead behind Ives Island, which is to the left.

Head back to the junction and go right. The Rail Pond is to the left, and then there are views of the Washington mountains. At a junction, go right to get a good view of Beacon Rock from the banks of the Columbia: it is from here that you can cross to Ives Island at times of low water (In late summer/early fall: See the Ives Island Add-on Hike); if the water is exceptionally low, you can also make it to Pierce Island. You'll notice waterfalls usually hidden from view pouring down on the Oregon side on the basalt face between McCord Creek and Moffett Creek and also some falls plunging directly into the river. At the next trail junction, proceed right on the “Fishing Access Road.” Pass along a blackberry alley and, where the road becomes overgrown, drop down and hike along the top of the river bank. There are good views of the Oregon shore and the Moffett Creek freeway bridges. Look for, and possibly hear, sea lions cavorting and fishing in the river below the Bonneville Dam. Reach the Hamilton Island Trailhead, which also has a restroom that is may be of questionable cleanliness (About 450 yards before the trailhead is probably the best point for access to Ives Island in September/October. See the Ives Island Add-on Hike).

From here, rather than walk along the road, cut up the boggy hillside to the Bench Trail and go right. At a junction, continue up to the top of the hill, where you will find a square of benches. There are great views up and down the river. Returning, keep left on the Bench Trail. The grassy track jinks left at a line of boulders and then heads downhill to a four-way junction. Across the road is a trail that will connect you with Fort Cascades. Going left takes you back up to the viewpoint. Continue straight and around the base of the hill to the left on a gravel road track. You will walk past some new homes and return to the trailhead.

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Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Columbia Gorge Getaways by Laura O. Foster
  • Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge by Craig Romano
  • Take a Walk: Portland by Brian Barker
  • Curious Gorge by Scott Cook (fishwheels)

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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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