Dog Mountain Hike

Dog Mountain Hike

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Hike Directions
  • Dog Mountain Trail Maps
  • How to Get to the Dog Mountain Hike
Distance6.2 miles (10 km)
Hike Time3:30 Hours (Total)
DifficultyHard
Total Ascent (?)2,850 feet (869m)
Highest Elevation2,949 feet (899m)
Fees & PermitsParking Fee
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park ContactColumbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Park Phone541-308-1700

The Dog Mountain hike is short, steep, and offers great payoffs at every bend. Dog Mountain rises prominently above the Columbia River Gorge, giving hikers panoramic views of the Gorge, the Columbia River, and on a clear day the Cascades high peaks like Mt. Hood. In the late spring, the higher parts of Dog Mountain are covered in wildflowers, making for some great photo opportunities. If you’re looking for a Columbia River Gorge hike that has the views, this is your move.

Getting to the Dog Mountain Hike

Use this trailhead address: Dog Mountain Trail, WA-14, Cook, WA 98605.

This hike can be extremely popular, so make sure you arrive early.

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, REI,  or in some local shops.

Gear for the Hike

I recommend hiking gear for Dog Mountain, but you could probably get away with fitness clothes too. Long pants will ensure that you don’t brush your skin against poison oak. And bring some extra layers for the upper slopes, it can get windy and cold.

Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.

Osprey Talon

Osprey Talon 33

My best lightweight pack for hikes between 3-10+ hours. I use mine with the 3L water bladder from Osprey.

Women’s Reviews

Men’s Reviews

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Garmin InReach Mini

You can text, SOS, and get weather in the backcountry where your cell phone doesn’t work. Literally a life-saver.

Lowest Prices

My In-Depth Review

La Sportiva Spire

La Sportiva Spire GTX

Modern materials mean you get the protection of a traditional hiking boot (waterproof, etc.) with feel of a sneaker.

Women’s Reviews

Men’s Reviews

Black Diamond Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles

If you’re not using poles yet, you should be. This model takes a beating, is light, and is super comfortable.

See The Reviews

Socks Sock Liners

2-Layer Sock System

I use a light inner toe sock and then a top-quality outer sock to prevent blisters.

Injinji Sock Liners

Darn Tough Socks

Probar

Nutritionally Dense Superfoods

Probars are great: no preservatives, vegan, low-GI, compact, and tasty. Put good fuel in your body.

See the Probar Flavors

If you’re hiking in the backcountry it makes sense to have a decent emergency kit and some basic gear to spend the night in a pinch.Full HikingGuy Gear List

* No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an REI link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Also → Big Sale at REI On Now:

REI SALE

Dog Mountain Trail Maps

Click To View Map

Dog Mountain Hike Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Here’s what I use to navigate my hikes. I recommend a combination of paper and electronic options with backups.

Gaiagps

Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is a planning and navigation tool that you can use on your phone, tablet, and the web. I use it on my phone when I need to interact with the map and know where my position is on it. I use it at home on the computer to plan routes. You can overlay maps such as public lands to find out free places to camp. It’s a powerful tool.

HikingGuy Discount on Gaia GPS

Fenix Nav

Garmin Fenix Watch

This thing does everything: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart rate, blood oxygen, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and the list goes on. I keep a GPX route on the watch so I can quickly glance down and make sure I’m in the right place.

Fenix Prices & Reviews

My In-Depth Review

Topo Map

Topo Maps & Guide Books

Don’t be caught out if your batteries die. Take a topo map with you on the trail. Some people also print my guides out for use on the hike.

I also highly recommend taking a map and compass navigation course. It’s a few hours, it’s fun, and it could save your life.

Map and Compass Navigation Basics Classes

Don’t just rely on a cell phone, especially if you are hiking in the backcountry.

Dog Mountain Hike 3d map
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.
Dog Mountain Hike elevation
The hike to Dog Mountain is steep. You basically go straight up. Many hikers use this to train for the bigger Cascades peaks.

Dog Mountain Hike Directions

Dog Mountain Hike parking
The Dog Mountain hike parking lot is just east of milepost 53. There’s also a large sign marking the parking lot.
Dog Mountain Trail sign
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.
Dog Mountain Hike trail
The trail climbs steadily. Pace yourself.
Dog Mountain Hike view
Almost immediately you start to get great views of the Columbia River Gorge. Take breaks and enjoy the view.
Dog Mountain Hike trail
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.
closeup of the trail split sign
A closeup of the trail split sign. Hike to the right.
Dog Mountain Hike trail
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.
Dog Mountain Hike views
Right after hiking out of the trees, there’s a bench on the right where you can take a break and enjoy the views.
Dog Mountain Hike trail
The higher you climb, the better the views become. After spending time at the bench, keep hiking up the trail.
Dog Mountain Hike trail split
At about 2.1 miles, the trail splits. Keep hiking to the right and uphill.
Dog Mountain Hike trail
The trail will eventually clear the tree line around 2.5 miles.
Dog Mountain Hike tree
Guess which way the wind comes from? If it’s a windy day, you’ll be feeling it by this point.
Dog Mountain Hike views
I love this part of the hike. You hug the ridge, with great views down to the river gorge.
Dog Mountain Hike rest area
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.
Dog Mountain Hike views
More great panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge open up on this stretch of the hike.
Dog Mountain Hike trail
The trail winds up towards the summit of Dog Mountain.
Cascades high peak
You’ll start to glimpse views of the Cascades high peaks.
Dog Mountain Hike trail junction
Just after 2.9 miles, there’s a trail junction. Hike straight.
Dog Mountain Hike trail
There’s a side trail into the woods. Keep hiking on the main trail.
Dog Mountain Hike trail
The trail winds up along the ridge of Dog Mountain.
Dog Mountain Hike trail
Just after 3 miles, hike the hard left. This turn is easy to miss, so keep your eyes open for it.
Dog Mountain Hike summit
This is the summit! There’s no monument, just a small meadow to relax on.
 views of the Cascades high peaks
You get great views of the Cascades high peaks.
Dog Mountain Hike views
These are the awesome views of the Columbia River Gorge that make the Dog Mountain hike worth the effort.
cris hazzard on dog mountain
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.

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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