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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
Total Distance (?)6.2 miles (10 km)
Hike Time3:30 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Hard
Total Ascent (?)2,850 feet (869m)
Highest Elevation2,949 feet (899m)
Fees & PermitsParking Fee
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Columbia 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.

Lone Peak 5

Altra Lone Peak 5
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.

Latest Price on Women’s ShoeREI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s ShoeREI | Amazon

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Stay Safe Out of Cell Phone Range
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Garmin InReach Mini (REI | Amazon | My Review) fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing.

Gaiagps

Gaia GPS Mapping App
Smartphones are not backcountry instruments, but almost everyone has one today. And they all have GPS onboard. So I recommend getting a good GPS hiking app like Gaia GPS that supports offline maps. Just make sure to put your phone in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. GaiaGPS not only has smartphone and tablet apps, but also an online planning tool. You can drag the GPX hike tracks from my (or any) guides into the online map and they will sync to your phone. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get up to 40% off here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated July 2021.

My July 2021 Top Gear Picks

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 a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.

Dog Mountain Trail Maps

Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Fenix 6 Pro

How are you going to navigate this hike?
To start, you should always have a paper map and compass. And it helps to print this guide out or save it on your phone. I highly recommend a GPS as well. I use the Garmin Fenix 6 Smart GPS watch ( REI | Amazon | My Review) with maps (or the more affordable Garmin Instinct). The GPS smartwatch is nice because it’s rugged, works if your phone dies, and also has a billion other features like sleep tracking, workout recording, etc.

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

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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.

This guide last updated on March 15, 2019. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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