||6.9 mile loop
|| N: 45° 43' 13"
W: 121° 42' 14"
Dog Mountain Photos
To Reach (From
Take I-84 eastbound
approximately 40 miles to Cascade Locks. Take exit 44, and cross
the Bridge of the Gods to the Washington side of the river. Remember
that the toll to cross the bridge is $1.00 per car each way. After
crossing the bridge, turn right on SR-14 for 12 miles. Between mileposts
53 and 54, there will be a sign on the left side of the road reading "Dog
Mountain Trailhead", set in a large turnout area. Just look for
lots of cars, and you'll find it easily. Make sure you have a
Northwest Forest Pass to park at the trailhead.
Named for starving
area pioneers who had to eat their dogs to survive, the convenient length
of 6.9 miles and the spectacular wildflower meadows in early summer, along
with great vistas of the gorge make this one of the most popular hikes
in the Columbia River Gorge. There are two trails up to the top
of Dog Mountain, each with their benefits. The main trail, also
called the scenic route, offers a more direct, shorter, steeper and more
brutal trail, with better views and beautiful meadows. The other
trail offers a great alternative to head downhill on, with gentler slopes,
and less knee trauma, however it will add 0.6 miles each way onto your
hike. Watch out for poison oak and rattlesnakes along this trail.
this trail for an early season conditioning hike, an for good reason.
Almost from the moment you start up the trail, off an old road, it begins
switchbacking relentlessly, launching you upward, gaining about 1,000
feet of elevation per mile for the duration of the hike. After
a half-mile, you'll come to the fork, where the old trail comes in from
the left. Stay to the right to encounter all the vistas that Dog
Mountain has to offer. The other trail winds through the forest
for its entirety. After another mile or so, you'll find the
first viewpoint, where many people stop for lunch. Continuing on,
you'll hit the other junction with the old trail in a half-mile or so.
Another half-mile of steep climbing takes you to an old fire lookout site,
with sweeping views encompassed in wildflowers.
Turn sharp left
here, and you'll head uphill for another half-mile to the summit, where
panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge, extending from Hood River
to Cascade Locks, await you. You'll see towering Mt. Defiance
across the way, and look down to see tiny Beacon Rock, which seemed so
big when you saw it from below.
After a break
to take in all the peace and beauty of the summit meadow, turn back down
the Dog Mountain Trail. Just 600 feet down the trail, you'll see
a sign to Augspurger Mountain. Turn right, and descend a ridge for
a mile or so, and then turn left at a junction. Continue down the
gently switchbacking trail for 2.7 miles back to the car.
I first did this
hike in 1993, training to climb
Mt. Hood. It was steeper than I'd imagined, but the payoff was
well worth it. Since that time, we've hiked this trail many times,
as have most other hikers in the Pacific Northwest. It is definitely
hard on the knees coming down, so if you have a set of trekking poles,
make sure you bring them!
wildflower meadows are in full bloom by late May, and on a clear day,
you'll want to stay there for hours. The mountain tends to
get socked in pretty easily, and the weather can change quickly, so make
sure to pack a sweater and some long pants just in case. We've been
up there when the weather was warm and sunny, only to turn to bitter cold
with fog and ice pellets within an hour.
this hike highly, especially in the late spring and early summer.
It's very accessible, and gives you a real workout! One time, when
we were grunting our way to the top, we were passed by an 80-year old
guy, running up to the top! Some people are amazing... Click
on the link below to view our photo gallery of Dog Mountain.
SEE SLIDE SHOW NOW!!