Hike Dog Mountain: The Steeper Route

Dog Mountain Trailhead

One of the most popular hikes in the Columbia Gorge, especially during wildflower season. In order to avoid some of the crowds take the steeper route. Distance: 7 miles. Elevation Gain: 2,800 ft. A challenging yet incredibly rewarding hike, great for training or trail running.

If you know the Columbia Gorge, you know Dog Mountain. It's the ever-rewarding, incredibly challenging, insanely popular, calf burning 6.9-mile hike that attracts hundreds of people every weekend, especially during May-June when the wildflowers are in full bloom. 

If you're like me and you hate hiking with crowds, take the steeper route (or better known as the old Dog Mountain trail). The trail begins at the Dog Mountain trailhead and begins with a steep incline past the bathroom on trail 147 for about 3/4 of a mile. Here, you'll find yourself on a flat trail in the forest with two options. The most popular option is the trail to the right that goes straight up. The steeper route (or the old Dog Mountain trail) is on the left and goes straight. Follow the trail that goes straight (on the left) and you'll hike for about two miles in the forest before reconnecting with the main trail. 

Once you have rejoined with the main trail, you'll have another steep incline in the forest before reaching an open meadow and your first view of the Columbia Gorge that is guaranteed to take your breath away (either because you are beyond exhausted and your legs are shaking or because it is absolutely beautiful). Once you reach the meadow you make your way another 1/2 mile before reaching the summit and a clear, much-deserved view of St. Helens and Mount Hood which peaks up behind Mount Defiance. 

On the way down, you'll have the option to take the steeper route back or follow the main trail which as a lower viewpoint. 

If hiking on the weekend (especially during May-June) make sure to get to the trailhead before 7 am to avoid crowds and to be able to park in the parking lot. This is hike is also just as popular for sunset as it is in the morning so beware of crowds if you are planning to hike around 5 pm, the parking lot may be full but there is additional parking alongside the highway if needed.

Northwest Forest Pass is required. 

Pack List

  • Water 
  • Food
  • Camera
  • Trekking Poles (helpful for going down, it can be slippery)
  • Windbreaker (the top can be windy!)
Show More
RT Distance 6.9 Miles
Elevation Gain 2800 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Tough but rad

Oh the steeper route.... it’s definitely a leg burner, you can’t beat it. Going straight up the hill instead of switchbacking around means that it feels a lot faster if you keep up the pace. Highly recommend if ya wanna get a nice workout in


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Dog Mountain Hike

The Dog Mountain trailhead is located halfway between Stevenson and Bingen. Look for the big signed parking area just after milepost 53 (Eastbound).

617 Saves

Starvation Ridge Loop Hike

Starvation Creek Falls is an impressive 190 ft. waterfall just a few feet from the parking lot. If you don't know it's there, you'll miss it.

190 Saves

Climb to the Top of Mount Defiance, OR

This hike starts at the Starvation Creek Rest Area. After parking, head west back along the shoulder of the freeway, where you’ll see a wooden sign stating “Mt. Defiance Trail.

410 Saves