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The Dog Mountain hike isn't easy, but it has the best panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge and Cascades high peaks. It's also a great hike to avoid the crowds that you'd encounter on easier Columbia River Gorge hikes.
6.2 miles (10 km)
3470 ft (1058 m)
Great Views, tough climb, wildflowers
Dog Mountain Hike Trail Maps
Use this address in Google Maps to get to the trailhead:
Dog Mountain Trailhead, Stevenson, WA, 98648, USA
The Dog Mountain hike trailhead is about 1 hour east of downtown Portland, and about 25 minutes east from the Columbia River Gorge hub of Cascade Locks, OR.
The hike climbs up from the Columbia River to Dog Mountain summit with some broad switchbacks. The prominence from the river is what gives this hike its great views.
The hike to Dog Mountain is steep. You basically go straight up. Many hikers use this to train for the bigger Cascades peaks.
Interactive Map Dog Mountain Hike Map Downloads Gear for the Dog Mountain Hike The best hydration daypack out there. The CamelBak Fourteener has been perfect on hikes of all distances (including Mt Whitney and Cactus to Clouds). It's light, has plenty of room for super-food snacks, extra layers, hiking gear, and comes with a 3 liter water bladder. I also like the raised sweat pads on the back that keep your back dry. It's the perfect blend of high-tech, durability, and simplicity. I've got hundreds of hours on it and still love it. CamelBak Fourteener Reviews My favorite hiking boot of all time. The La Sportiva Synthesis (for men and women) are waterproof, super-light, have incredible grip, and won a Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Award ( my review here). I've gone through a lot of boots and these are my favorite. They feel like comfortable sneakers with the protection of hiking boots. La Sportiva Hiking Boot Reviews Don't hike without this in your backpack. It's a GPS emergency beacon and can save your life ( more on that here). On the trail, you're often out of cell phone range, and even something as simple as a twisted ankle could become a life and death situation. This beacon works where cell phones don't and is the size of a fist. Just press a button and help is on the way. Your life is worth every penny. ACR GPS Beacon Reviews For my complete gear list and survival kit contents, please check out my post on the modern hiking essentials here. I'd also recommend taking a quick look at the Every day they mark down great quality hiking gear, fitness gear, and clothing. Pick up an inexpensive lifetime REI Outlet site. REI Membership for an extra 10% off. Dog Mountain Hike Directions What to Expect The Dog Mountain hike is popular on weekends, especially in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom. Arrive early for a spot in the trailhead parking lot. There is a bench half the way up the hike with great views, and the summit has great views. Both great places for lunch or a snack. In the summer the sides of the trail are thick with poison oak. Stay on the trail and you’ll be fine. The summit can be much cooler than the trailhead. Bring an extra layer and rain shell You need a parking pass. I use the affordable National Parks Pass, which gets me in every park, monument, and national forest. Otherwise buy a Northwest Forest Pass at a ranger station or in some local shops. Turn by Turn Directions The Dog Mountain hike parking lot is just east of milepost 53. There’s also a large sign marking the parking lot. From the parking lot, take the Dog Mountain Trail. There are other trailheads, all signed. Just double check. A bathroom is just past this point. The trail climbs steadily. Pace yourself. Almost immediately you start to get great views of the Columbia River Gorge. Take breaks and enjoy the view. At about 0.6 miles, the trail splits, hike to the right. Both trails go to the same place, and the right fork is easier. A closeup of the trail split sign. Hike to the right. At about 1.6 miles, after what will seem like a climb that lasts forever, you hike out of the trees to an open section. Right after hiking out of the trees, there’s a bench on the right where you can take a break and enjoy the views. The higher you climb, the better the views become. After spending time at the bench, keep hiking up the trail. At about 2.1 miles, the trail splits. Keep hiking to the right and uphill. The trail will eventually clear the tree line around 2.5 miles. Guess which way the wind comes from? If it’s a windy day, you’ll be feeling it by this point. I love this part of the hike. You hug the ridge, with great views down to the river gorge. At about 2.6 miles, there’s another area to relax and take in the views. Put on your extra layer here if it’s getting cool. More great panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge open up on this stretch of the hike. The trail winds up towards the summit of Dog Mountain. You’ll start to glimpse views of the Cascades high peaks. Just after 2.9 miles, there’s a trail junction. Hike straight. There’s a side trail into the woods. Keep hiking on the main trail. The trail winds up along the ridge of Dog Mountain. Just after 3 miles, hike the hard left. This turn is easy to miss, so keep your eyes open for it. This is the summit! There’s no monument, just a small meadow to relax on. You get great views of the Cascades high peaks. These are the awesome views of the Columbia River Gorge that make the Dog Mountain hike worth the effort. Give yourself a pat on the back, you just burned a bazillion calories on this hike. Turn around and hike back down the way you came up. An easy way to give back is to simply pick up any trash you see on the trail. A quick note. These directions are meant as a guide for the hike, and not a definitive source. Conditions change, and the information here can be different based on time of day, weather, season, etc. There can be small side trails that you might see but I missed. I have made every effort to include all the information you need to complete the hike successfully. I recommend using this guide in conjunction with a map, GPX file, common sense, and call to the ranger station or park office. If you do the hike and notice something has changed, please contact me and I will update the guide.
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The 10 hiking essentials are the recommended key survival tools that hikers should bring with them on every hike. The original 10 essentials date back the 1930s. Here’s my take on the modern hiking essentials and how to use them.
I’m Hiking Guy, aka Cris Hazzard. I like to get outdoors, walk, and then write about it. It wasn’t always like that though.
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