Need a challenging day hike within an hour of Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington?
Then Dog Mountain should be your choice.
This trail is one of the best in the area to get you back in shape for the summer hiking season. You will climb about 2,800 feet of elevation during this 3.8 mile hike to the summit of Dog Mountain.
The best part is, you will be well rewarded for your effort.
- Dog Mountain elevation: 2,948 feet (898.5 meters)
- Trailhead to Summit: 3.8 miles (one way)
- Parking Pass: $5.00 for 1-day
- 55 Miles from Downtown Vancouver, WA
- 56 Miles from Downtown Portland, OR
- Somewhat crowded in the Spring and Summer
Need food, water, gas, or cash for the trail permit? You can stop in Stevenson, Washington for all last minute supplies.
Hiking Dog MountainFact or Fiction? According to the book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles, Dog Mountain got it’s name from some settlers who ate their dog to survive. Ironically, I’ve seen many hikers bring their dogs on this trail.
There is a restroom roughly 100 meters from the trailhead, so take care of business before you head up.
From the parking lot, you have two have two trail options. You can start by heading left which is a little easier or you can go right and head up the main trail, which is steeper. Further up the trail, you’ll come to another fork go left for the harder trail or go right for a slightly easier ascent. I took the hard route because I enjoy the challenge.
The trail rises quickly from the parking lot with a series of switchbacks through the forest. After 0.5 miles, you’ll come to the fork in the trail. Go left for the most difficult route.
Forest scenery continues until you’re about 2.5 miles in at which point you enter an area of tall bushes before breaking out into open mountainside. Spring and early Summer is a popular time to hike Dog Mountain because the mountain side is covered in beautiful wild flowers.
At about 2,500 ft in elevation, you’ll come to Puppy Point (aka Puppy Dog Lookout) and from here it’s about another 0.5 mile to the summit. When you look south on a clear day, you can see Mount Hood peeking over the other mountains. You’ll also have excellent views to the East and West along the Columbia River Gorge.
Someone took some time to collect rocks and build this nice little cairn at the summit.
Have you hiked this trail? Tell us about it in the comments.
Thanks for reading!