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Beacon Rock

With fluted, almost perpendicular sides of columnar lava that rise about 900 feet from the edge of the river, is the second largest monolith in the world. Its summit is strewn with great blocks of red cinder and cloaked with stunted, deformed trees. From the entrance, a trail winds upward in zigzag fashion, leading over precarious-looking wooden bridges to the top of the conical-shaped rock.

A defiant challenge to climbers, its “inaccessible” heights were conquered in 1901, when the banner of a Columbia River steamship company was raised as an advertising stunt. The name was given because early river navigators installed beacons on the rock to guide them at night or during heavy weather. An alternate name was Castle Rock. It is the center of a 3,052-acre state park built around the rock is on north bank of the Columbia River. Camping, fishing, and hiking are available.