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Dog Mountain

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With a trailhead in the Columbia River Gorge, this mountain offers wonderful views of the deep cut of the Columbia as it slices through the Cascades. This is a popular trail that offers great views and a pleasant trail experience-wildflowers grace the forest meadows and clearings, and wild-life roams the area.

From the large parking area, the trail begins with a steep, 0.5-mile climb to a junction. Both trails before you lead to the top. My recommendation is to go right, since the left fork climbs steeply up the northern flank of the mountain. Use the longer, more gradual route on the right as it loops around to the east and climbs through broken forest that offers periodic views across the gorge. You can descend by the steeper northern route, or retrace your steps.

The trails climb steeply, reconvening near the 3-mile mark, before the combined path crosses a little knoll known as Puppy Lookout. You're only 500 feet below the top at this point, so keep pushing and soon you'll be striding through the broad meadows of balsamroot blooms into the fabulous views south and west into the Columbia River Gorge.
Driving Directions:

From Carson, drive approximately 9 miles east on State Route 14 to the trail-head, just beyond milepost 53. The parking area and trailhead are on the left (north) side of the highway.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 61 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Dog Mountain — Mar 16, 2014 — Tim Hynde
Day hike
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Too early for flowers but this was a good hike to kick off the season and get warmed up. The trail i...
Too early for flowers but this was a good hike to kick off the season and get warmed up. The trail is in good condition with no hazards.
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Dog Mountain — Aug 17, 2013 — heaths
Day hike
Issues: Overgrown
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I left on the Dog Mountain trailhead and took the Way of the Samurai (2.2mi) then the right path at ...
I left on the Dog Mountain trailhead and took the Way of the Samurai (2.2mi) then the right path at Puppy Point (Lookout). The trail was dry and clear. At the clearing the flowers were mostly gone but the view was still beautiful. The right trail at the top was quite overgrown, but it's clear this doesn't get a lot of traffic.

The only problem for some might be the poison oak below 1,000ft. Above that I didn't see any.

I took the Augspurger trail down and while it was dry, the downhill side of the trail was loose in a few spots so watch your step and try to stay more on the uphill side.

Overall a good hike and a beautiful day for it!
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Dog Mountain — Jun 09, 2013 — seattlegraham
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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Wildflowers last hurrah. In the shade or on the bald top where it is cooler, the wildflowers are in...
Wildflowers last hurrah. In the shade or on the bald top where it is cooler, the wildflowers are in final bloom. Balsam Root is withering with the heat and the lupine and Indian paintbrush are still in bloom.

Arrived at 9:30 from Seattle and the trailhead already had 35 cars (lots of Portland folks). First third on hot south slope made me think this should be called "Poison Oak Mountain." No worries despite brushing against the stuff.

First two thirds is forested and you reach the bald top. It was 81 degrees, so the first two thirds were steep and sweaty. The top third opens out and (this being the Gorge) is windy and cool. Bring a windbreaker or light fleece to enjoy the top with a picnic. You will share the spot with a fair number of people and dogs if a weekend. Watch for the gifts the dogs leave the mountain if you intend to stretch out and nap or picnic on the grassy top.
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Dog Mountain — Jun 02, 2013 — PatriciaC
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Mud/Rockslide
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Go soon and go early. This was my second time up Dog Mountain in two weeks, and the balsamroot is pa...
Go soon and go early. This was my second time up Dog Mountain in two weeks, and the balsamroot is past its prime. The hillsides were still vibrant yellow, but on closer inspection the balsamroot blossoms are starting to dry up. However there was the typical assortment of wildflowers adding color variety, and these are still in full blossom.

My hiking buddy and I went on a sunny weekend day, and there was a carnival in the parking lot and a party at the top. The parking lot was pretty much full by 9:30 am, and cars were parked quite a distance up and down SR14 by the time we left. A swarm of people greeted us at the top, all buzzing with excitement after having made the rigorous climb. Go early to get a parking spot, and be prepared for a joyous experience shared with lots of people. This is no place for quiet reflection.

At the first junction on the way up, be sure to go to the right and up the scenic trail. We went to the left up the old trail, a mistake because the arduous climb was entirely in the woods with nothing much to see other than trees. The newer scenic trail offers views of the gorge and two weeks ago had an amazing assortment of forest wild flowers.

Our return trip was on the more knee-friendly Augspurger Mountain trail which offers photo-worthy views of the gorge before dropping into the forest. There was slippery, gooey mud in the heavily forested areas and a profusion of poison oak in the more open areas. The poison oak crowded the trail in places, so be sure you know what it looks like and be prepared to dodge it.
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Dog Mountain — May 26, 2013 — MapleLeaf
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: No water source
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Who needs Suzanne Sommer's Thigh Master when you've got Dog Mountain? This hike is an all-in-one but...
Who needs Suzanne Sommer's Thigh Master when you've got Dog Mountain? This hike is an all-in-one butt, thigh and calf burner! Technically speaking, the trail is easy - it's pretty much free of roots and rocks and there're no stream crossings. It's also easy to navigate. But, it starts steep and stays steep, with 2,500 feet of elevation gain straight to the top. There are two options though - you can choose difficult or more difficult. If you want more of a gradual decent, take the trail on the right. Either way, you'll be working up a mean sweat so bring plenty of water. Fortunately, the trail stays in forest shade for most of the way.

Along the way, we encountered all kinds of dogs: Shepards, sausage-like Datsuns, and pocket-sized dogs. They were all fairly well-behaved. The only problem were the bags of dog poo left along the trail, as if the owners thought some forest gnome would magically appear to take the stuff away! Seriously, who wants to see this stuff when hiking in such a beautiful place? Whatever happened to "Leave No Trace?" This was the only disappointment though in an otherwise beautiful hike.

Spectacular yellow Mountain Asters are still blanketing the slopes but they won't be around for much longer (maybe one-two more weeks) so get up there before they're gone! It was a partly cloudy day so we didn't get the views of the mountains, but there is a family of ravens at the top that entertained us with spectacular aerial displays. We weren't in a hurry to summit, which gave us plenty of time to observe the surroundings. On the trail, we caught sight of a Western Bluebird (not Jay), a large lizard and other forest birds. Observing the smaller joys of nature is just as enjoyable to us as seeing wildflowers and panoramic views.
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Dog Mountain.jpg
Dogs are allowed on leashes on the hike up Dog Mountain. Photo by trip report poster, JenniferS.
WTA worked here!
2012, 2013
Location
Dog Mountain (#147)
South Cascades -- Columbia Gorge
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Statistics
Roundtrip 8.0 miles
Elevation Gain 2800 ft
Highest Point 2948 ft
Features
Rivers
Wildflowers/Meadows
Summits
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: South Cascades, by Dan A. Nelson and Alan Bauer, Mountaineers Books
Day Hike! Columbia Gorge, by Seabury Blair, Jr. (Sasquatch Books)
Best Hikes with Dogs: Western Washington by Dan A. Nelson
Green Trails No. 430 Hood River

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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  • Trail Work 2013 Frontcountry
  • Trail Work 2012
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