The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area is home to hundreds of trails up and down on both sides of the river. The Columbia River that cuts through the Cascades marks the only navigable water route through the Cascades, and it served not only Lewis and Clark’s route at the end of their expedition, but also has supported human habitation for over 13,000 years. The Gorge was formed primarily at the end of the last Ice Age when the Missoula Floods cut the dramatic walls of exposed volcanic rock that exist today.
Many trails offer wonderful views of the Gorge and wildflowers, some offer views of the surrounding cascade volcanoes, and still others offer a sense of solitude that only an intense yet lesser known trail can provide; few offer all of these in the same day-hike. Augspurger Mountain trail begins at the Dog Mountain Trailhead (arrive early for parking, it fills up early) and wraps around the west side of the mountain with a 1.5 mile connector trail to the summit of Dog Mountain.
The Augspurger Mountain Trail continues north past this intersection downhill along a brushy path until you intersect with an old road. Take a right and head for just over a half mile along the road through a four-way intersection until there is a sharp turn to the left. Look for pink-ribbons to mark the trail re-entering the forest, it’s easy to miss.
Switchbacks will take you up to an open ridge cleared by powerline towers and offering great views back toward Mount Hood and down the Gorge. Continue along the faint trail as it climbs to the forested summit of Augspurger Mountain and down the other side to another open ridge that makes a prime lunch spot with sweeping views north towards Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, with Mount St. Helens and Silver Star visible to the west.
Head back the way you came, with the optional addition of Dog Mountain if your legs still have energy and the weather is good, for more views of the Gorge. This would add 1.4 miles and 750 feet of climbing to your total trip, but it is well worth it. Check if you need snowshoes if you're going in winter.