Hardy Ridge is one of the better hikes on the Washington side of the Columbia River and often overlooked by Dog Mountain devotees on a quest for yellow wildflowers. On the warmest day of 2018 (so far), our team of five hiked up Hardy in search of snow, adventure, and the perfect vista to sip an IPA.

 Our team going up the switchbacks below the ridge.

Our team going up the switchbacks below the ridge.

The sky above the parking area was blue and clear as we started around 9am. The first mile through the trees brought occasional views of the Columbia to the south and the upper reaches of the ridge above us. We traveled at a brisk pace and quickly reached the start of switchbacks and snow.

 Looking east towards Table Mountain to the left in the foreground, the Columbia River, and Dog Mountain in the center background.

Looking east towards Table Mountain to the left in the foreground, the Columbia River, and Dog Mountain in the center background.

The final mile to the summit was a beautiful slog with perfect weather as we post-holed our way in deep snow up the ridge. Mt. Hood watched over us from the Oregon side of the river, and eventually we caught glimpses of Mt. Adams and the top of Mt. Rainier to the north.

 The team hiking up through the snow and nearing the summit with Mt. Hood in the distance.

The team hiking up through the snow and nearing the summit with Mt. Hood in the distance.

After enjoying a snack in a flat area out of the wind below the high point, we descended back down the trail and retraced our steps back to the car following the same path.

 Descending the ridge and heading back to the trailhead.

Descending the ridge and heading back to the trailhead.

Overall, the day was 10: near flawless conditions, great company, and few other hikers. We didn’t encounter any other groups until after we reached the top. The snow slowed us down and presented a few navigation challenges, but added an element of adventure to the day. If you’re thinking of hitting the Gorge soon, consider Hardy Ridge.

Click here for more pictures from the hike.