Photos by Cheryl Landes
From April through June, the wildflowers bloom in the forests and meadows of Dog Mountain. When you hike along the steep 6.8-mile Dog Mountain-Augspurger loop and shorter trails, you’ll find some of the best wildflower viewing and panoramas in the Columbia River Gorge. And, on clear days, you’ll see a fantastic view of Mount Hood to the south.
These trails are popular during wildflower season, especially on the weekends. Often the parking lot at the Dog Mountain trailhead fills on the weekends.
The trailhead to the Dog Mountain-Augspurger loop
To reduce the congestion and prevent hikers from walking along Washington State Route 14 to reach the trailhead, the U.S. Forest Service requires permits to hike the Dog Mountain Trail System on Saturday and Sunday during the wildflower season. This year, permits are required from April 20 until June 16.
There are two ways to get a permit:
- Park at the Skamania County Fairgrounds on Rock Creek Drive in Stevenson, Washington, and take the shuttle to the Dog Mountain Trailhead. The shuttle, which runs Saturday and Sunday only, is $2 per person round-trip and includes the hiking permit. The trailhead is 10 miles east of Stevenson.
- If you prefer parking at the trailhead, the permits cost $1.50 per person. Buy permits at Recreation.gov. You’ll also pay a $5 fee for parking at the trailhead kiosk. But be aware that buying a permit online does not guarantee a parking spot at the trailhead. The best option, if you’re hiking on the weekend, is to take the shuttle from Stevenson.
Forest Service rangers will check for permits at the trailhead. Anyone who does not have a permit will be cited.
Hiking permits are not required Monday-Friday, but you’ll still pay the $5 fee for parking at the trailhead.
If you drive to the trailhead, pay for parking at this kiosk.