The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Ken Graham
The Times 

A Hike Up Rock Hill Trail

Out and About


Ken Graham

A hike to the top of the Rock Hill Trail, is rewarded by a spectacular view of downtown Dayton.

When a hiking trail thaws after it has been frozen for a couple of weeks, trekking it is a bit like taking a long walk in wet concrete. Monday was sunny and bright, so I decided to give the Rock Hill Trail, on Port of Columbia property near Dayton's west end, a go anyway.

I did my best to stay in the adjacent grass, but that was not always possible. My boots collected a couple of pounds of sticky mud each, I'm sure. And I did some "boot skiing" a couple of times, but stayed upright. It was definitely worth it.

Toward the top of the trail on the east end, a bench invited me to sit and enjoy the view of downtown Dayton, which was spectacular. Heading back west, and still climbing gradually, the view west along the Touchet River Valley was its equal. In between you get a bird's eye view (literally) of the Dayton golf course and Columbia County Fairgrounds.

Ken Graham

The view looking west along the Touchet River toward Lewis and Clark Trail State Park.

The trailhead sits between the Port office and the Columbia County District Court building, just off West Cameron St. A new sign clearly marks the spot.

Dayton resident and Pacific Power employee Doug Hinds has spent the last couple of years building and grooming the trail. An avid mountain biker, Hinds designed the trail for use by non-motorized bikes as well as two-footed (and four-footed, on a leash) hikers.

Hinds says the trail is about 1½ miles long and the elevation gain to the top is approaching 300 feet. He is still working on expanding the trail, especially toward the west near the top.

If you go, expect to get a solid workout, but it's definitely doable for those of us who aren't completely out of shape.

I suggest giving the trail a bit of time to dry out though, or you'll be packing some extra weight on your feet, like I did.


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