Dog Mountain is an extremely popular hike that is known for its wildflowers sweeping views of the Colombia Gorge and surrounding mountains. It is between 6.2 – 7.4 miles, depending on the route. While the hike does not require any serious technical know-how, it is ranked “hard” due to being a “calf burner.” So how long does this rewarding workout take?
Hiking Dog Mountain in Washington State takes 3-5 hours. The length will depend on personal fitness, how long hikers linger at the top, and which trail combinations are taken. Dog Mountain has an easier but slightly longer version and the option to create a loop with the Augspurger trail.
Dog Mountain is easy to access for people in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. Thus, it’s popular due to being close to nearly half of Oregon’s population and Vancouver’s. Dog Mountain also dresses up in wildflowers from May to June. Consequently, there’s a permit system from March 31st to July 1st, in addition to requiring a Northwest Pass.
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How Much Time Is Needed To Hike Dog Mountain?
Hikers take between 3.5 – 5 hours to do dog mountain. Some of this has to do with fitness. However, due to the steep trail, even those in reasonably good shape can find the relentless up-up-up taxing. You can bring your dog, too, so long as it is on a leash.
The other reason for the varied time span is that there are a few options for hiking Dog Mountain. For example, the original, old trail is shorter but harder and, when done uphill, can actually add time. Some go up the easier but slightly longer, more scenic route but come down, the shorter one, which is faster if your knees are in excellent condition.
Hikers also need to consider how long they might want to linger at the top and venture to lookout points and snap photographs. Of course, adding a picnic to the trip will also lengthen the excursion.
How Long Is It To Hike Dog Mountain?
Dog Mountain has a few options that will impact the length of the hike. These include:
The Summit Loop Trail is the shortest and most grueling. Most hikers will only use it for the descent, preferring to go up Dog Mountain Trail, around .4 miles longer. Your longest option is the Dog-Augspurger Tie Trail, which will go up Dog Mountain and then connect with the Augspurger Trail to descend.
The Breakdown of the Dog-Augspurger Tie Trail
The Dog-Augspurger Tie Trail is about 7.4 miles. Hikers can shorten this by going up the old trail and connecting with the Augspurger. However, to ensure your calves don’t file for divorce, people wanting to do this should simply do the route backward: go up Augspurger and connect down with the old trail.
The breakdown of the proper Dog-Augspurger Tie Trail is as follows:
- .7 miles from beginning the hike, turn right to remain on the “scenic” and “newer” trail
- Lower viewpoint (enjoy)
- Keep right as you go by the top of the old trail
- Puppy Dog Lookout (excellent spot to turn around if you are questioning your life choices)
- Stay right as you pass by a connector to Augspurger Trail (just over 3 miles in)
- Arrive at the summit (approximately 3.4 miles completed)
- Once finished catching your breath and enjoying the view, hike back down .15 miles
- Go left onto the Augspurger Trail (head down)
- Stay to the right when passing Old Loggers trail (around 2.3 miles later)
- Just under a mile later, you will reach the Dog Mountain
What Are The Best Months To Hike Dog Mountain?
May- June are the best months to hike Dog Mountain and see the wildflowers. However, it will be crowded, and you will be required to obtain a permit for weekend hiking.
The hotter months in this area are late summer, mid-July – early September. So if you have missed the wildflowers are not big on the heat, shoot for an early autumn hike, mid-September to mid-October.
What Is The Best Time Of The Week To Hike Dog Mountain?
The best time of the week to hike Dog Mountain is the weekdays. Weekends are the most popular. Thus, the trail is crowded, parking is difficult, and other transport options have greater strain. The closer you are to the mid-week, Tuesday-Thursday, the more likely you’ll have some elbow room during the most popular months.
Is Camping Allowed In Dog Mountain?
Dog Mountain is a day hike, and visitors are not allowed to spend the night. Popular places to spend the night, if required, are:
What Are Other Good Hikes Near Dog Mountain?
The fitter and more energetic folks sometimes enjoy combining Dog Mountain with a hike up Wind Mountain. It is only 2.4 miles; thus, it does add a substantial time to a day. It takes the average hiker about 45 minutes to reach the summit. Like Dog Mountain, Wind Mountain allows these four-legged friends to join in, so long as they are on a leash.
Hiking Wind Mountain will provide a nice view of Dog Mountain. There will also be excellent views of the Columbia River, Mitchell Point, and Mount Defiance sitting in the distance.
Hiking Mount Defiance is also possible, although not a recommended same-day hike with Dog Mountain. Mount Defiance is the highest peak in the gorge and, consequently, the 12.2-mile hike is challenging. It takes hikers from 5 – 7 hours to do the Mount Defiance Trail.
Mount Defiance is often used as a training hike for those looking to do higher peaks, such as Mount Hood. Unlike Dog Mountain, there is camping. Recommended times of year are April – October. Like the other two mountains, dogs are allowed, provided they are kept on a leash.
Hiking Dog Mountain is a three-to-five-hour commitment, depending on your fitness, the route, and if you are planning to have a picnic and take lots of photos. For those who want to make a full day of hiking, Dog Mountain makes a nice pairing with Wind Mountain. However, those eyeing Mount Defiance should do it on a separate day. Enjoy the wildflowers and views.