Dog Mountain Trail (#147)
This trail is best known for the dramatic yellow balsamroot and other native wildflowers that blanket Dog Mountain's high meadow from April to June, but its spectacular panoramas of the Gorge reward hikers throughout summer and fall.
The trail climbs steeply for the first half mile before reaching a split in Dog Mountain Trail. Those who head west will pass through old growth trees along the original, steeper trail. About a mile into the east leg, hikers will encounter a lower meadow nicknamed "Puppy Dog" which overlooks the Columbia River as it meanders past Wind Mountain. Directly across the river, Starvation Creek Falls is visible to the left, as is the summit of Mount Defiance. This is a good picnic spot or turnaround point for a shorter hike.
Those who continue to the upper meadow will find the rest of the hike very open. On a clear day, the Columbia River can be seen winding through the Gorge in both directions, with Mt. Hood towering to the south and Mount St. Helens looming on the northwest horizon. On rainy days, hikers can sometimes find themselves above the clouds.
During the winter, the peak is snow-covered and even the most intrepid hikers should come prepared with mountaineering gear such as traction devices, poles, and a good GPS.
NOTE: Because of its steep grades of 10-25%, this trail is not suited to young children or unfit adults.
At a Glance
|Fees:||$5/vehicle/day at Dog Mountain Trailhead|
|Permit Info:||Each hiker must carry a permit or digital proof of permit each year on Saturdays and Sundays & on Memorial Day during peak spring wildflower season. 2021 Permit Dates: April 24 to June 13, 2021. Visit fs.usda.gov/goto/crgnsa/hikedogmountain to learn about how to obtain a permit.|
|Restrictions:||Motor vehicles are prohibited. Fires not allowed within 200 feet of trail.|
|Closest Towns:||East of Stevenson, Carson, and Home Valley, WA
West of White Salmon, WA
Across the river from Cascade Locks, OR
|Passes:||NW Forest Pass or valid federal recreation pass accepted in lieu of fee at Dog Mountain Trailhead.|
|Operated By:||Forest Service|
|Information Center:||Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area|
From Stevenson, WA: Travel east on Washington State Route 14 for 10 miles. Trailhead parking is available at milepost 53.7 by the Dog Mountain Trailhead sign.
From Portland, OR: Travel west on Interstate 84 to Cascade Locks exit #44. Follow the off ramp under the interstate and take the first right to the Bridge of the Gods across the Columbia River. At the stop sign, turn right (east) on Washington State Route 14 and travel 12 miles. At milepost 53.7 there is a large sign for the Dog Mountain Trailhead. Park in the pullout on the left.
This is one of the most popular, but also most strenuous hikes in the Gorge. Be prepared for steep grades and potentially dramatic weather changes as you approach the summit.
Outstanding views of the Gorge, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helens.
Alerts & Warnings
- Waterfall Corridor Timed Use Permits begin May 24
- Closure Update: Eagle Creek Fire
- Firewood available again
- Spring weekend hiking permits for Dog Mountain
- Drones prohibited in wilderness and select recreation sites
- Klickitat Mile One Overnight Use & Large Boat Launch Prohibition
- Guard against car theft
- Check road and weather conditions