Dog Mountain Trail (#147)

Area Status: Open
Dog Mountain trail is highlighted by spring-blooming yellow balsamroot flowers

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. 

Hikers can continue past the upper meadow to create a loop via Dog-Augspurger Tie Trail to Augspurger Trail #4407 which shares the same trailhead.

NOTE: Because of its steep grades of 10-25%, this trail is not suited to young children or unfit adults.

Dog Mountain Summit Three hikers enjoy the view from the top of Dog Mountain Dog Mountain Parking lot fills up during peak season. The view is expansive at Dog Mountain.

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 to learn about how to obtain a permit.
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Heavy
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

General Information


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.


Day Hiking

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.  

Viewing Scenery

Outstanding views of the Gorge, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helens.