As an outdoors enthusiast, you want to reach the highest peaks and explore every trail you can. If this is you, add Dog Mountain to the list of trails to try this year. It's one of the most scenic hikes within a day's drive from Portland and is easily found on the Washington side of the Columbia River.
The most preferred trail direction for the Dog Mountain hike is on the right side of the parking lot, and the trail starts right away. A forest restroom is a couple of hundred yards from the start, and is the last official pit stop.
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After passing the restroom, the Dog Mountain hike begins its steep climb through a series of switchbacks. This is a good time to take it slow and enjoy the wildflowers and ferns that dot the trail at this elevation.
After clearing the switchbacks you are rewarded with an unbelievable view of the Columbia Gorge. Take in the wide expanse of wild flowers above and below you and use the close-by trail bench for a photo op with the gorge as your backdrop.
Continue on as the trail straightens out into a steady ascent toward the top. Be sure to catch breathtaking views of the gorge and hillsides filled with alpine meadow flowers. As you continue to climb over 2,500 feet you reach Puppy Point. You can see the top from here, but there's still half a mile and 400 feet of climbing left to go.
At 2900 feet you reach the finish of your Dog Mountain hike. On a clear day, you can see Mount Adams to the East and Mount Hood to the South.
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For your hike down there are two choices: Go back the way you came, a quick descent. Or you continue on and take the long way around the mountain. This trail is not quite as steep, a little longer, but you don't get views of the gorge.