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Hike of the Month: Warrior Rock Lighthouse Point

When mild winter weather and weekends (or weekdays) align, this meandering Sauvie Island trail offers the chance to fill your lungs with brisk air and see Mount St. Helens

A dog and a woman wearing winter clothes sit on a fallen tree in front of a lighthouse by the Columbia River

You’re looking at Oregon’s smallest lighthouse.

Table of Contents

Despite its name, reaching Warrior Rock Lighthouse doesn’t take extreme bravery — although you will have to drive past a nude beach. This nearly flat route provides the chance to enjoy nature and get some fresh air during the colder months.

Quick facts

  • Starting point: Warrior Rock Lighthouse Point Trailhead, 38151 A&B NW Reeder Rd., Portland
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Route type: Out-and-back
  • Elevation gain: 25 ft
  • Trail surface: Hardpack dirt/rocks/sand
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Open: Dawn to dusk, year round
  • Dog friendly: Yes, leashed

Brief overview

Authorization for the original structure came from Congress in 1888, and a year later, a wooden building with a sandstone base was constructed. Keepers were tasked with warning inbound ships of a bedrock reef projecting from Sauvie Island’s eastern shore, using an oil lamp beacon light and lens with a hand-cranked fog bell. The current 28-ft-tall octagonal concrete tower was erected in 1930.

A snowcapped Mount St. Helens rises above the horizon across the Columbia River in the midst of winter

On clear days, Mount St. Helens will peak out and say hello.

Why you should try it

Around this time of year, most (if not all) of the leaves should be on the ground — offering better visibility for birdwatching. Keep an eye on the sky for species like bald eagles, sandhill cranes, tundra swans, northern flickers, and more. If you’re lucky, you may even see a sea lion bobbing in the water, likely feasting on steelhead.

Pro tips

An ODFW pass ($10 daily, or $30 annually) is required to park at the trailhead and can be bought at four locations. Be aware that you will share the path with duck and geese hunters from mid-October through January — any gunshots we heard were far in the distance to the west.

Let us know

Did you try this hike? Do you know of one we should check out? Send us your thoughts + recommendations.

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