Dog Mountain

AreaColumbia Gorge (west - WA)
Best time to visitMid-May through early June
Blooming NowYES
Elevation1290-2948 feet
Trail Info3.0 miles round-trip, 1600 feet elevation gain to lower viewpoint
6.0 miles round-trip, 2820 feet elevation gain to summit
 PLANT LIST AVAILABLE
 ADDITIONAL PHOTOS
 Oregon Hikers Field Guide information
DogsAllowed, but must be kept on leash AT ALL TIMES.
 Northwest Forest Pass required!

Description

Rising 2948 feet above sea level on the Washington side of the Gorge, Dog Mountain provides terrific views of the Gorge in all directions, as well as Mount Saint Helens to the north and the very top of Mount Hood to the south.

More importantly, it is a fantastic place to see mid-Spring wildflowers. Starting during the first half of May, the meadows near the summit are blanketed with Northwest Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea), along with Harsh Paintbrush (Castilleja hispida), Spring Gold (Lomatium utriculatum), Columbia Gorge Lupine (Lupinus latifolius var. thompsonianus), Bicolored Cluster Lily (Brodiaea howellii), Upland Larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum), Western Buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis), and Spreading Phlox (Phlox diffusa). There is also a fine assortment of forest wildflowers on the lower section of trail, including: Hooker's Fairy Bells (Disporum hookeri), Pacific Starflower (Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia), and several types of Coralroot (Corallorrhiza sp.).

But this requires some effort. Even getting to the lower viewpoint will have you huffing and puffing, and from there the sight of the sublime summit meadows will compel you to subject yourself to even more physical punishment.

It will also require you to brave the hordes of other visitors. The best option is to plan your visit on a weekday if at all possible.

Directions

From Portland, take Interstate 84 East to Exit 43 (Cascade Locks). (If you are approaching from the east, take Exit 45 and proceed two miles through town.) Cross the Columbia River over the historic Bridge of the Gods ($1 toll for passenger cars). After crossing the bridge, turn right onto Highway 14, passing through the town of Stevenson and then beyond Wind Mountain. Approximately 12.3 miles after crossing the bridge, between mile markers 53 and 54 and shortly after Grant Lake, watch for the large parking area on your left. If the parking lot is full (which is entirely likely on weekends), then you can backtrack 0.4 mile and park at a turnout next to Grant Lake which has room for 6-10 cars (and does not require the Northwest Forest Pass). Parking along Highway 14 is prohibited.

MARCH 2016 UPDATE: The USFS is limiting parking to 75 cars. Please consider carpooling or using Skamania County's West End Transit, which will have shuttles to the Dog Mountain Trailhead during wildflower season.

From the parking area, the trail climbs to the right. There are pit toilets several hundred feet up the trail before the real climbing starts.

When you come to the first trail junction at 0.5 mile, turn right onto the "easier" trail. Difficulty is all relative, but that trail is a lot easier than the other/older trail, and more scenic as well.

If you hike all the way to the summit, on the return trip you might consider taking the Augspurger Mountain trail heading west just below the summit (it is clearly signed). This will add approximately 0.9 mile to the return trip, but it is considerably more gradual. Don't be put-off by the fact that you will climb a little bit during the first section west of the Dog Mountain summit -- besides, you will enjoy the views from that angle. This trail also provides you with an opportunity to see more wildflowers, particularly species which thrive in the forest. For example, there were scads of Fairy Bells, False and Star-Flowered Solomon Seal along that trail, whereas there were hardly any along the Dog Mountain trail proper. The only thing to watch out for is that trail crosses several talus slopes, but those are probably no more difficult than it would be to negotiate the sometimes-loose gravel on the steep Dog Mountain trail.

If you decide to do the loop including the Augspurger Mountain Trail, you will proceed for approximately one mile from the summit spur trail, then turn left at a signed trail junction which eventually descends to the trailhead.

Trip Reports

DateSubmitted by
06/03/2017Greg Lief
05/30/2017Greg Lief
05/25/2017Greg Lief
05/22/2017Greg Lief
Reports from previous years
05/17/2016Lauren
05/05/2016Greg Lief
04/24/2016Greg Lief
04/12/2016Greg Lief
05/17/2015Greg Lief
05/03/2015Greg Lief
04/11/2015Greg Lief
05/20/2014Greg Lief
05/14/2014Greg Lief
05/11/2013Greg Lief
05/29/2012Jim Pollock
05/27/2012Brad Crane
05/19/2012Greg Lief
05/15/2012Greg K.
05/07/2012Greg Lief
06/22/2011Greg Lief
06/14/2011Jim Pollock
06/04/2011Greg Lief
06/24/2010Greg Lief
06/05/2010Wendy Boyd
05/24/2010Jim & Nina Pollock
05/16/2010Matt Abinante
06/02/2009Angie Moore
05/25/2009Greg Lief
04/24/2009Jen Travers
06/01/2008virginia broderick
05/19/2008Greg
05/16/2008Rachel Witmer
06/03/2007Cheryl Hill
05/28/2007Greg Lief

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Photo Gallery


Dog Mountain Trail #1

Dog Mountain Trail #2

Dog Mountain Trail #3

Gorge view from Dog Mountain Trail

Mount St. Helens from Dog Mountain Summit

Mount St. Helens from Dog Mountain trail

Wind Mountain from Dog Mountain trail #1

Wind Mountain from Dog Mountain trail #2

Wind Mountain from Dog Mountain trail #3


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