Dog Mountain Permit System

Dog Mountain Parking lot fills up during peak season.

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 2021 season permit dates are April 24 to June 13. No permits are required on weekdays, except Memorial Day. Permits are now available on Recreation.gov.

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. 

 

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 (except Memorial Day). 

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

PERMITS: Anyone not taking the shuttle will need to reserve one permit for each person online at www.recreation.gov and pay the $1.00 non-refundable administrative fee (per person).

PASSES: Dog Mountain Trailhead has a $5/vehicle day use fee. Valid NW Forest Pass and other federal recreation passes are accepted (but not state parks passes) as a form of paying the day use fee but are not a substitute for having the per person permit during peak wildflower season. Enjoy the convenience of buying a Digital Recreation Day Pass at Recreation.gov for Forest Service fee sites in the Scenic Area.

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. 

A permit is included automatically with the Skamania County Transit - Dog Mt. Shuttle at Skamania County Fairground gravel parking lot at 518 Rock Creek Drive, Stevenson. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis. In lieu of the previously required fee, donations will be accepted. Each permit is good for one individual on the day it is issued. The shuttle runs about every 30 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends from April 24 to June 13, 2021. The last shuttle to depart Stevenson will be 1:00 p.m. and the final shuttle departing the trail head will be at 5 p.m. Shuttle capacity will adhere to current CDC physical distancing requirements and follow the Washington State Mask Mandate in place.

Visit the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce in Stevenson to learn more local participating businesses.

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/recreation/?cid=FSEPRD572962