Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
7.20 mi (11.59 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

When it comes to hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, Dog Mountain is a legendary destination, and rightly so. This Washington hike offers stunning views of the gorge and far beyond. You'll see Washington and Oregon Cascade peaks such as Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, a healthy variety of forest and alpine meadow flora, and, if you hike in middle May through early June, you’ll be presented with one of the best wildflower displays in the entire Columbia River Gorge.

From the parking lot there are several options for your ascent. The older Dog Mountain Trail leaves from a trailhead on the east end of the parking lot, is steep, and passes through more of the mountain’s iconic wildflower meadows. The newer Dog Mountain Hiking Trail starts at a trailhead in the middle of the parking lot, has a less intense incline, and spends more of its time in the woods. Our recommendation: take the older trail up while you have fresh energy and enjoy the Cascade and Columbia River Gorge views you came for, but then make a loop out of the hike by taking the newer trail on your descent. This will add variety to your experience, and your knees will be sure to thank you. From the beginning, be sure to keep your eye out for poison oak, as it dots the lower elevation portions of the trail. Also, if you're there at the right time of year, be sure to catch the tiny fairyslippers in bloom, one of the magnificent orchid species in Washington and Oregon. At higher elevations you are sure to see the golden fields of arrowleaf balsamroot and arctic lupine.

Note that there is an existing day use fee of $5, and a new permit system is effective for weekend hikers from March 31 through July 1. More information is available here.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Pros

Amazing views. Wildflowers in early June.

Cons

Too tough for everyone in family. Big crowds. Poison oak.

Trailhead Elevation

200.00 ft (60.96 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,900.00 ft (883.92 m)

Features

Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

05/10/2017
Dog Mountain is a phenomenal hike that provides a challenge for any level of experience. The views at the top and half way are stunning and make the 6 mile round trip* hike one for the books. There are a few trails you can choose from. The first option is at the trailhead. Should you choose to go to the right towards the bathroom you will come to a fork about 20 minutes in. There is no longer a sign on the post (May 10, 2017) If you go right at this post it will take you up a steeper incline. If you go left, it will be longer and more gradual. The day that I went up was beautiful, sunny, clear, and at the top there was a slight breeze. The trail is easy to manage with not to many roots, loose gravel or any other hazards. I would recommend 2 walking sticks, which you can easily find on the side of the trail, to help you up the steeper grades.
05/07/2016
We hiked Dog Mountain in early May and the view at the top was definitely worth the hard hike up hill. The wildflowers were amazing. This was definitely a popular trail but once you reached the halfway point, the amount of people dwindled significantly. Mostly adults and a lot of dogs but few kids along the way.
05/23/2014
Even in inclement weather, the scene is still beautiful. Perhaps that would mean fewer crowds as well!
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