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 blooms during spring and early summer. 

During the busy spring wildflower season, weekend visitors need a permit to hike Dog Mountain Trail to protect the public from safety issues caused by congestion at the busy trailhead parking area. Each individual must carry their own hard copy permit (or digital proof of purchase) to be on any 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.

Anyone using the parking lot also needs to pay a $5 day use fee per car.

The 2020 season permit dates include Saturdays and Sundays from April 18, 2020 through June 14, 2020. No permits are required on weekdays, including holiday Mondays. Permits will be released for the 2020 spring season on Recreation.gov starting March 1, 2020.

Springtime crowd dynamics at Dog Mountain all depend on weather! Weekends in early April and late June, when no permits are required, can be the most congested if the sun is out, and weekdays during permit season can also be very crowded. Hikers might just have the best chance beating crowds by hiking on a weekend when permits are required. 

Learn more below or download our Dog Mountain Permit System FAQs (pdf).

 

The permit system at Dog Mountain is a seasonal requirement to protect public safety. On Saturdays and Sundays throughout peak wildflower season, each hiker must carry a hard copy permit (or digital proof) on trails that traverse Dog Mountain. No permits are required on weekdays, including holiday Mondays. 

Both permits and passes can be purchased at Recreation.gov, so be sure to note the difference: 

PERMITS are seasonal and per person. Search "Dog Mountain" to buy the $1 permit (called a ticket online). Limit 4 per transaction. In theory, the permit is free, but there's a $1 charge for administrative of reservation system. The first 100 permits for each weekend will be released March 1, with additional permits released on three days prior to the permit dates at 7 a.m. Pacific Time throughout the permit season. (So, on Wednesdays more permits are released for the following Saturday; on Thursdays for Sunday.)  

PASSES: Anyone parking in the trailhead lot (year round) must pay a day use fee of $5 per car known as a "day use pass." These fees help support maintenance and enhancements. Search "Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area" for the $5 day use fee, which can also be used at ANY Forest Service fee site in the Gorge that same day. NW Forest Pass and other federal recreation passes are accepted. Sorry, state passes not accepted. 

Be advised, we try to match permit capacity to parking lot use, but a permit does not guarantee parking spaces are available at your time of arrival. 

The shuttle is a great option for people who just want to wake up and head out on a weekend hike with no hassles, as long as you catch the last outbound shuttle before 1:30 p.m. Shuttle riders are automatically issued a permit (in the form of a wristband) as part of the cost of the shuttle and don't need to pay the day use fee for cars.

Catch the WET shuttle at Skamania County Fairground gravel parking lot at 518 SW Rock Creek Dr, Stevenson, WA 98648, and receive a free permit. No reservations needed, as seats are available on a first come, first serve basis. Shuttle costs $1 per person each way ($2 roundtrip per person), cash only (exact change). Services run about every half hour from 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays during the permit season. *The shuttle will also run on Memorial Day 2020.

Each year, businesses in Stevenson offer discounts to shuttle riders. Visit the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce in Stevenson to learn more local participating businesses and attractions!

parking along the highway at the overflowing Dog Mountain trailhead parking lot.Prior to implementing the permit system, parking at Dog Mountain Trailhead would overflow onto the sides of the highway, creating chaos and unsafe conditions along the narrow shoulder of State Route 14 (SR-14). This caused safety concerns as pedestrians walked on narrow shoulders, dangerously close to high-speed traffic, while drivers had limited site distances along the winding road's foothills and cliffs. Shuttles and emergency vehicles were unable to safely access the parking lot when needed, and only the most dedicated hikers that woke 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 an alternative to car congestion at Dog Mountain Trailhead on busy spring weekends. The program was funded by Western Federal Lands, Washington Department of Transportation, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Stevenson and Skamania County Tourism Funds.

While some were initially skeptical, this approach has proven successful and improves the safety of the trailhead for both hikers and nearby highway traffic. Each year we work to improve the approach!





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