Dog Mountain Hike – Woof!

DOG MOUNTAIN – COLUMBIA GORGE Moderate to Difficult 1500 ft – 2900 ft elevation gain 3 – 7 mile loop Passes required: Either NW Forest Pass or you can pay at the trail-head $5.00/day Directions: From Stevenson, WA: Travel east on Washington State Route 14 for 10 miles. Trailhead parking is available between mileposts 53 and 54 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. Between mileposts 53 and 54, there is a large sign for the Dog Mountain Trailhead. Park in the pullout on the left. There are some hikes that leave you breathless with a gasping WOW, and Dog Mountain does not fall short!  The climb up to the summit is substantial. It’s a calf-building, quad-ripping, ass-buster, and though we went on a Tuesday morning, I can see how this trail would be packed on a weekend. Best time to go: End of May for full bloom wildflowers!Image You start off right at the edge of the spectacular Columbia Gorge and begin a trek UP into the dense evergreen doug-fir forest and the beautiful trilliums. Climbing through the smells are divine with pine and the birds are full of song.Image You will have a check-point to take one of two paths to the Summit. We opted for the “More  Difficult” path which is where we got our leg and cardio workout. Image Climb, climb, climb you go and after leaving the density of the forest you come to the mountain top meadows At the end of May this is a spectacular array of wildflowers, busting with the bright yellow of balsam root and sprinkled with red Indian paint brush, chocolate lilies, wild strawberries and purple lupins. The first glimpse takes your breath away as the edge of the mountain top overlooks the Columbia River Gorge and Oregon! Image Photographer’s Dream – Bring your camera – you’ll kick yourself if you don’t! Image We had a great time – I’m sure you will too! Bring a lunch so you can picnic at the top. Layers of clothing, sturdy hiking boots, lots of water and a genuine smile are all good things to take along with you. You might consider some trekking poles for the descent as it can be a bit of a knee buster! Image Be sure to stop at the East Wind Drive-In in Skamania on your way out – it’s on the Oregon side of just under the Bridge of the Gods.  The iced-cream is two feet tall! Also – Skamania is Sasquatch nation – so be prepared to site big-foot! DSC_0170 Happy Hiking! Denny, Tim & Jeff Image

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