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Dog Mountain: The Steeper Route

Stevenson, Washington

based on 2 reviews



5.55 miles

Elevation Gain

2858 ft

Route Type



Added by Bria Justus

Dog Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the Columbia Gorge, especially during wildflower season. To avoid some of the crowds take the steeper route. 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 6.5-mile hike that attracts hundreds of people every weekend, especially during May and June when the wildflowers are in full bloom. 

If you're like me and you hate hiking with crowds, take the steeper route (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 that goes up to the right. 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 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 has 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 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.


  • A permit is required for Dog Mountain on weekends during wildflower season and Memorial Day. 
  • A recreation pass is also required for parking. 

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking

Dog Mountain: The Steeper Route Reviews

When my dad was training for his 5k we used this as one of the training trails. And if you thought the normal dog mountain was bad this will KICK YOUR BUTTTTT!

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

Leave No Trace

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