Summer is slow to arrive in the Pacific Northwest, but when it does we feel compelled to take full advantage of it! So on the 4th of July, R and I and two of our good friends set off to hike Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge.
Dog Mountain is located in Southern Washington approximately 55 miles east of Portland. It had been on our to-do list for quite some time, and with the spring chill finally lifting as July settled in, there was no better time for this little expedition.
We headed out of Portland around 10 am and drove 45-60 minutes to Bridge of the Gods and paid our $1.00 toll to get across the Columbia River. Bridge of the Gods is actually part of the Pacific Crest Trail and is the lowest point of that trail.
After crossing the bridge, the trailhead is off a parking lot 12 more miles east along Washington State Highway 14 between milepost 53 and 54.
A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park here, which we did not have, but there was a parking lot attendant selling day use passes for $5.00. If this was incorrect and we should have had both, then my apologies to Washington State!
Since I had already applied my sunscreen before we left Portland, all we needed to do at this point was grab our small backpack with CamelBak, sandwiches, and water and start heading up the hill.
Dog Mountain is a fairly strenuous hike and not suitable for anyone in poor shape or with small children. There is a 7.1-mile loop with an elevation change of 2850 feet with a suggested hiking time of 4.5 hours. Not for the faint of heart!
There are several ways up the mountain. There are northern and eastern trails that branch off some distance past the Dog Mountain trailhead, or you can do what we did and take the Augsburger trail, also located from the same parking lot, and head up the west side of the mountain. We took this path from the suggestion of friends who had gone a couple of weeks prior, and we were glad that we did. The Augsburger path is not as steep and is a much gentler climb to the top. However, when I describe it as much gentler, I don’t mean to imply that it’s easy. All the same restrictions apply. Look out for poison oak (which we saw plenty of) and rattlesnakes (which we didn’t see any of).
The Augsburger trail offers magnificent views of the Gorge back to the west.
There is an abundance of wildflowers if you can get up this mountain early enough in the year.
Along the way you can catch glimpses of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood.
We had lunch at the summit, enjoyed the view for a bit, and then worked our way down the other, steeper side.
We stopped at Skamania Lodge on the way back to Portland and had ourselves a couple of pints to celebrate the great hike that we completed!
It was so great and so beautiful. It was one of those perfect days where everything falls into place: good weather, fantastic time, and great company!
I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the birth of our nation than to soak in its beauty like this.
What about you? What are ways that you enjoy your health and your world?