*Update: This trail, like so many in the Columbia River Gorge, became a victim to popularity and the increasing crowds from Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. Due to this, a permit is required in Spring on weekends. See here for more information.
If you choose to do Dog Mountain, the goal is to time it to the flower displays all over the hills. When the Yellow Balsamroot is in bloom, the hillsides are a carpet of yellow. We were a bit early however.
There are three trails to take to the top, they only differ in how long it takes one to get to the top. All are lung sucking. 2800 feet elevation gain awaits you.
We chose to take the straight up route, which is the hardest, but gets it done quicker. This is the old trail. If instead you take the “modern” trail, it will be 3 miles total to the top, but is a bit easier on the body. All the trails are marked however.
Ford at the first overlook, as we pulled above the trees. The Columbia River is below us.
Looking up to the balds above. It feels like alpine but isn’t. And those winds howl all the time up there.
The trail is very steep, bu the views are worth it.
The backisde of Mt. St. Helens is visible, especially in early spring, when it has snow on it.
Ford and I at what passes for the summit for most (you can climb up to the tippy top of the ridge, I didn’t feel the need). There are a few spots to spread out on, to have a summit picnic on, but you will have plenty of company up there.
To have an easier hike down, and to save our knees a bit, we continued on the trail (looking back here) and connected to the Augspurger Mountain Trail. This is a great option to make a loop. It’s also more quiet and less people.