Dog Mountain Permit System

Graphic: Image of hikers resting with a view of the river.

 

Dog Mountain is one of the Columbia River Gorge's premier hikes, with expansive Gorge views and amazing wildflower meadows that bloom during spring and early summer. During the busy spring wildflower season, weekend visitors need a permit to hike Dog Mountain Trail as part of an initiative to protect public safety.

 

Each individual must carry their own hard copy permit (or digital proof of purchase) to be on any of the trails that traverse Dog Mountain, including both forks of Dog Mountain Trail (#147 and #147C), Dog Augspurger Tie Trail #147A, and the lower portion of Augspurger Trail #4407. This season, permits are required to hike Saturdays & Sundays from April 20, 2019 through June 16, 2019. No permits are required on weekdays. Learn more in our Dog Mountain Permit System FAQs sheet.

Get up and go! Simply pick up the WET shuttle from the Skamania County Fairgrounds, and receive a free permit. No reservations needed, with seats available on a first come, first serve basis. Costs is $1 per person each way ($2 roundtrip per person) and the shuttle runs every half hour from 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from April 20 to June 16.

Back again this year, several businesses in Stevenson will offer discounts to shuttle riders -- including Walking Man Brewing, Big River Grill, North Bank Books, Columbia Hardware and Bits and Spurs. Visit our partners at the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce in Stevenson to learn more about area businesses and attractions!

Plan ahead, reserve early, and carpool! Starting March 1, reserve one permit per hiker online at recreation.gov (limit 4 per transaction) if you plan to park at Dog Mountain trailhead. Come prepared to pay the $5 per car day use fee when you arrive or have a valid Northwest Forest or federal interagency pass (sorry, state passes not valid). Although the permit itself is free, recreation.gov charges a $1 per permit administrative fee for the reservation. Be advised, permits do not guarantee parking spaces are available.

parking along the highway at the overflowing Dog Mountain trailhead parking lot.Prior to implemenparking along the highway at the overflowing Dog Mountain trailhead parking lot.ting the permit system, the Forest Service trailhead parking lot would fill in chaotic patterns and trigger parking along the narrow shoulder of State Route 14 (SR-14). This caused public safety concerns as pedestrians walked on narrow shoulders, dangerously close to high-speed traffic, where driver's had limited site distances as the roadway passed by local foothills and cliffs. Shuttle and emergency vehicles were unable to safely access the trailhead and parking lot when needed, and only the most dedicated hikers that awoke at the crack of dawn had a chance to beat the crowds.

Skamania County officials, Washington Department of Transportation, Washington State Police, and the Forest Service worked together to build on Skamania County's existing shuttle service as a solution to finding a safer alternative to accessing Dog Mountain Trailhead on busy spring weekends. The program was funded by a grant to relieve congestion at trailheads. Western Federal Lands, Washington Department of Transportation, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Stevenson and Skamania County Tourism Funds all helped provide funding.

While some were initially skeptical, our inaugural 2018 permit season was a raving success, and hikers appreciated having a reservation so they could arrive at the trailhead at a time that suited them, instead of battling crowds in the pre-dawn hours! Many people told us they hiked the trail for the first time in 2018, thanks to the new reservation system. Based on last year's feedback, we introduced more permits per day (we found we had more capacity), our partners shifted the final shuttle run a bit later to 5 p.m., and we set season dates that better align with peak visitation. As a bonus, the Forest Service's new online reservation system charges only a $1.00 administrative fee per permit instead of last year's $1.50!

Want to avoid a permit AND beat the crowds? Be aware that on weekdays during permit season and during the shoulder season & weekends in early April and late June, when no permits are required, you may find congested conditions. We recommend hiking Tuesday through Thursday if you can, for the best chance to beat the crowds.

 





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/crgnsa/fire/?cid=FSEPRD572962