I hiked Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge yesterday. It was late in the day, so I only made it half-way up the steep hike. Although I’ve hiked it many times before, this is the first time I didn’t go all the way. But since the goal of the hike was to catch sunset from a position far above the Columbia River, and since there is a photogenic viewpoint about halfway up, I wasn’t disappointed.
Dog Mountain is on the Washington side of the Gorge and is one of the area’s most popular hikes. Get there from Portland by driving east on I-84 to the town of Cascade Locks, cross the Bridge of the Gods into Washington ($1 toll), and turn right on Hwy. 14. Continue east through Stevenson and look for the wide gravel parking lot on the left. It is just over an hour’s drive.
There is a loop option by going left on the trail from the parking lot, following signs up the Augsberger Mountain Trail and returning on the main Dog Mountain Trail. Or just climb up the main trail to the right (east) from the parking lot. This route forks not far above the parking lot, allowing yet another loop option. Be aware it is a steep hike, about 7-8 miles round-trip to the top and back.
This time of year the entire upper mountainside is covered in blooming wildflowers. The iconic flower of this area, the bold yellow balsamroot, is on the wane. But it is joined in mid-May by purple lupine and red indian paintbrush, along with other flowers. Clouds nearly ruined the chances for pictures, but I managed to get a few. I even did a self-portrait, which is rare for camera-shy me. It was windy, which is typical for the Gorge.
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