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Hiker Comments for the Dog Mountain Hike - 1 to 34 of 34   
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By: Sandi, Winston & friends Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 31, 2019
Everything everyone has said is true!  Hard but worth it.  The only thing I might add is that we came down the long way that was suppose to be less steep and a tad easier.  Well, it may be less steep but it has a ton of rock slides on it, so it makes your footing terrible.  Here your legs are shot from going down hill for so long and now you have all these loose rocks to step over.  I found that very difficult.  I read that someone's dog suffered paw injuries and I too hiked with a Golden Retriever whose paws got very sore from going over so many loose, sharp rocks.  So just something to be aware of when making a choice of which route to take down.  Next time, I will take the steeper route down.  It's painful going down, so just get it over with, hahahaha!  Great hike though, so pretty, even in the forest! 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 10, 2013
This is one of my favorite trails in the late spring. The wildflowers, if you're lucky enough to have it timed right, can be spectacular. I climbed the loop (up Dog Mt. Trail, down Aspergers Trail) on Monday, 6/10/13. I got up at 4 am to make sure I could have a leisurly breakfast and take my time before leaving for the TH at 6:20 am. I began the climb at 8:30 am. (it's 109 miles to the TH from my place).

I was lucky with my timing since the wildflowers were blooming in a ratio of reds, blues, and yellows that I find much more attractive than just the yellow (not my favorite color) Balsamroot.

The weather was fair. Not crystal clear (a small amount of water vapor haze) but, by most standards, a fine day.

Since I know this trail can be crowded - especially on weekends - I, being retired, chose a Monday morning for my hike. Good choice. Only 2 vehicles in the parking area when I arrived. Early up and early down also means beating the rush hour traffic on my way home to Salem.

On the way up two girls (young women) zoomed past me (I've slowed down a lot at age 70), and one young couple past me near the summit. On my way down the Aspergers Trail there were about a dozen hikers that were headed up. BTW, I summited at 10:53 am - 2 hrs. and 23 min. to go a little over 3 miles uphill - SLOW!!

By: 1943Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 10, 2013
My embarrassing spelling error below concerning the name of the trail on my loop in June of 2013 will now be corrected! It's Augspurger Trail!

By: Trudi Phillips Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Great Hike!! The trail was real good and the flowers were BEAUTIFUL. Be ready for some wind up at the top section.

By: TM Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Terrific weather made a wonderful hike. Steep but good trail. The views are well worth the effort. Came across 2 rattlesnakes in the early afternoon. Yikes!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 2, 2013
This past weekend's hike was soooo much better than the crusted snow trudge over Christmas break!  The warm weather melted everything all the way to the top.  There was a little bit of mud up there but then I didn't wear my shiny shoes either so it was okay.

Couldn't believe it when I got back to the parking lot as it was practically filled with cars!  Wow, February and it was double row parking.  Anyway, looks like will not need to prepare for winter blizzard conditions again unless the weather changes radically from now until spring.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
It was my first time on Dog Mountain with great conditions starting off around 11am, thanks for the most recent reviews I was able to prepare well and decided against the snowshoes. Went on longer route up and wind and snow picked up heavily on the final accent with waist deep snow in some areas - ended up losing visibility for a while. Without knowing or seeing the trail well, I sadly decided to turn around and took the shorter/steeper way down, my broken Yaktrax were on my mind - how helpful they would have been. I am excited to head back up soon but get to the trailhead earlier. I saw 1 couple heading down as I got there that made it to top.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 29, 2012

I read Clif's post from 12/27/12 and was able to prepare well for my hike, thanks Clif.  I took the long route thinking it would help with the snow conditions.  It didn't save me any energy or time so feel free take either the long or short (steeper) route, which ever you prefer, there should be little difference.  Took me 4-1/2 hours r/t,  (normally 2-3/4).

It was fairly strenuous all of the way.  When I got to the lookout point I put on snow shoes for the final ascent.  They are good snow shoes but did not work well in these conditions.  The top of the snow was frozen and supported my 160 pound weight with the shoes until I got to some thinner spots and broke through to the powder below.  It was more of a struggle to pull my feet back up to the surface with the snow shoes on that it was to follow in the footsteps of others who had made it without shoes.  I ultimately took them off.

I'm 60 years old and in good shape but was bone jarring sore by the time I got down.   NTL, I highly recommend going.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, December 27, 2012
Copper, my 25lb mini-labradoodle and I hiked Dog Mountain on Thursday 12/27/12. Snow covered the trail after the initial pitches of the trail and continued to the top. I decided not to take snowshoes, and really missed them. We would have made it to the top I believe if we'd had them. The trail was snow covered to the top, or as far as we could go, about 100 yards from the lookout point-beautiful snow covered hike. The weather cooperated with some sun breaking through the trees throughou the hike. The hoke was limb littered from wind and snow fall, with some trees down near the trail. Very few other hikers, in what is normally a very crowded hike. I've hiked DM regularly over several years and its nice to see it at various seasons.

By: Angie Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 27, 2011
We loved this hike for the difficulty. We went up the Dog Mountain more difficult trail and loved the burn!! We had a time crunch so we skipped the summit:( but will definitely be back to do it again.  We did the entire loop in under four hours. There were a few flowers at the top, but not many. The view of the river and the gorge was clear and absolutely gorgeous!

I do have a warning for anyone who wants to take a dog on this hike. My lab mix weighs about 70 pounds and his paws got quite cut up on the Ausberger trail on the way down. We didn't notice the trouble until we were at the bottom and noticed his limping. We were absorbed in watching the trail for rattlesnakes and really should have been more attentive, but wanted to warn others so their dogs don't have to suffer like mine did.

Fabulous trail, but not for the weak! It was a great challenge and training for our Mt St Helens climb coming up!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 9, 2011
A STUNNING array of Phantom Orchids.  Usually an exceedingly rare flower, they number well to 1000 on both Dog Mountain and Ausberger Trail

Also seen, two Spotted coralroot~ immaculata forms, Wood rein orchids, one Striped Coralroot and Green Bog Orchids in the high meadows.  Most of the Coralroots are past their blooms, earlier June is best for them.

The Phantoms I am still stunned by what I saw.

Ausberger Trail is for sure the "easy" way up, the Dog Mountain trail down can be quite slippery in places.  For those with downslope issues, go up Dog Mountain and down Ausberger.

By: Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 27, 2011
One of my most favorite hikes .... Just a warning though to those who bring their dogs .... There is rattlesnakes on the trail from time to time so keep your dogs on a leash ..... Please pass the word along.

By: Ayla Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 23, 2011
Folks, this is the weekend for Dog Mountain. We went up today to avoid the crowds and the flowers are putting on an incredible show. Larkspur, Paintbrush, Lupine, on and on and on. If you ever wanted to walk in a Monet painting, here's your chance.

By: Blake Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 5, 2011
My six year old son has decided that he wants to see the Burgess Shale at Yoho National Park in Canada. I told him we would have to train for it since it starts at 4800 feet, ends at 7200 feet and is a 12 mile hike. I am 50, my wife is 40 and we started training last week on the Wahkeena Falls/Multnomah Falls loop hike. I gave this hike 4 stars because it was a great hike but it kicked our butts. We had a nice slow pace and spent six hours on the trails. We had just enough water and were smart enough to bring a big lunch. We made it to the summit in four hours and that includes many breaks and a 30 minute lunch stop. Even without waterfalls the scenery was stunning! The wildflowers were at their peak. We saw a small rattlesnake sunning on the side of the trail. It ignored us and we were able to get a picture of it. My son thought that was awesome. As tired as we were from going up hill for four hours, and I mean UP HILL, it was incredible to make it to the top and relish our accomplishment. Going back down was somewhat easier but there are some spots with loose gravel and you have to be careful. As we were making our way down through the forest, we were alone and it started to rain and it was so refreshing! We will remember this hike for a long time to come.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Let me preface this review by noting that Dog Mountain offers far and away one of THE most amazing PANORAMIC views of the Columbia River Gorge, PERIOD - but getting to that vantage point is no picnic be forewarned. Bring at least 2 litres of water and a big, grubbin' lunch so you can sit down at the top and pull in the stunning views while re-nourishing your glutes, quads, and calves. Make no mistake, this is an uphill hike that gains almost 3,000 feet in elevation from the parking lot, and you WILL feel it on the way down, as well as the next day. I have seen 70 year olds and 7 year olds sitting at the top, so as daunting as it may sound, you can do it. And now that you are informed and can PACE yourself, you will absolutely enjoy this great hike.

So as all Oregonians know, when the sun comes out in November, you have to RUN outside before it disappears! Today however was an anomaly -- the forecast as for "70 degrees, with clear skies" -- meaning, there was only one place to go for that FINAL hike of the year. . . "Dog Mountain".  There were about 10 cars in the ample lot instead of the usual 150, so I already knew this was going to be different from the usual Dog Mountain stomp.The colors were stunning all the way up the mountain, and when I broke into the clearing along the first viewpoint slope, that "MIND-BLOW" of a western view was chocked FULL of red and gold trees spattering Fall colors all over the usually green hills - absolutely beautiful. This time, I reached the top in an hour and 11 minutes (my best time yet) at 5:01 pm, and the sun was just starting to turn orange. I had only seen 5 people all the way up. I sat there and ate my BIG lunch (don't forget yours) and watched the sun fill the entire sky with fire-orange light until 5:35, then headed down so I could beat the darkness (takes me 30-35 mins to get to the bottom because I jog it down - give yourself at least an hour and a half) . All the way through the forest, amazing strobes and bolts of flame colored light cut through the woods painting a picture of surreal beauty - never seen anything like it. All the way down the forested trail, the deep woods were filled with warm slashes of bright orange and yellow light illuminating everything. When I reached the parking lot, I realized how fortunate I had just been to be able to experience such a huge contrast between hiking the trail in the summer, and then in the Fall. If you've hiked Dog Mountain in the summer and you loved the flowers and the big open skies, make a mental note to do yourself BIG favor and do what you can to catch the scenery in the Fall. Indescribable. GREAT way to end the hiking year :))

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 14, 2010
I guess I'm missing something here.  I realize that hiking can be a personal preference kind of thing, so perhaps my comments should be taken with a grain of salt.  My family and I (spouse, two kids ages 12 and 9) did not like this hike very much (hence the one star rating).  We are not avid hikers - meaning we hike as a family 12+ times per year.  We have hiked mountain trails around Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker and the north and central Cascades.  A portion of my low rating can be attributed to some misinformation about the hike's time, difficulty level and distance figures in some hiking resources – the hike’s statistics on this website are probably the most accurate of the info I reviewed prior to the hike.  The actual total round trip distance is almost 7 miles and we were on the trail for 5+ hours.  Most of the hike is through Douglas fir forest on a steep grade - very steep in some places - offering little in the way of views or scenery outside of the forest.  The upper/final portion of the hike offers impressive views of the Columbia River Gorge and some peek-a-boo views of the top of Mt. Hood.  But this payoff seems anti-climactic after the slog it takes to get there.  This may be a good fitness hike for people looking to combine a strenuous aerobic, training type experience on a trail that offers nice views at the pinnacle of the mountain.  I don't recommend this hike for families with pre-teen kids.  I recommend using trekking poles on this hike (unless your lower extremity joints are in great shape). I also can’t imagine doing this hike without good hiking shoes, laced up tight.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 29, 2010

I am 60, female, and in fair condition.  My daughter (in her 20s) and I hiked up the 'most difficult' eastside trail.  It was a hard hike for me, but I made it with some rest and nourishment stops!  The hike was beautiful, and the view at the top was spectacular (like you are at the top of the world) but I had to sit in the trail to see it all, because the steepness and elevation of the slope around you indeed gives you a little vertigo, as a man we met along the way cautioned us.  We took the easier route down, (thank goodness) but my knees and ankles were really hurting, which they have never done before.  We had a smaller dog with us who did fine, but we ran out of water for the trip down, and the dog was dragging by the end, as there of course was no creek or water naturally at that height.  It was a hot day but enough periodic shade to keep me and the dog going!  My daughter, of course, had no problems and was very patient to wait up for me at times (many times toward the end!)  Be sure to take enough water and substantial-type food for snacks for both you and a dog, if you take one.  Don't think that you are wimping out by taking the easier trails, it might be the better choice for an over-all enjoyment of the trip!  All of the people we met at the top looked like they had just stepped out of their cars, so maybe the easier hike is wiser if you are 60!

By: Mark Waggoner Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 14, 2010
Flowers still looked pretty good on Sunday, though they are past their prime. It was also pretty windy on the upper parts of the trail, but the trees at the peak provided some shelter.

By: sandy Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Love this hike! Have been doing it yearly since 1978. Lots of green this year and high meadow flowers looked like they missed the sun - Balsam Root in bloom but not fully open. I think flowers will continue for a while because so much rain. Saw no rattlesnakes but poison oak was reaching out to grab us!! Hiking polls really useful, especially in the downhill mud.

By: Janis Oakley Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Dog Mountain is a great burn those calories kind of hike. Our friends Dru and Pete lead our pack up the steep trail to the sign. what a beautiful sign. The sign announces that you only have a mile left to the top, to an incredible view. Well worth the energy required to make it.

By: Scott Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 8, 2010
Very strenuous hike but excellent trail.  The second and third weeks of May are the best because that's when the balsamroot generally blooms.  I made it in 1 hr 15 min up, 30 min down, but I was passing everyone.  I suspect that is not at all typical.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 11, 2009
My husband and daughter and I took the hike and although it was very steep and hard it was well worth it.  We made it to the top in two hours, and it took just about that long to come down in one piece.  Then we headed to Carson hot springs to recoup. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Good Hike, nice and steep out the gate. I used this to prepare myself for backpacking this summer so i had a 40 lb bag on my back. In the trees i was sweating a lot and went up the "harder" way, once i hit the open meadow it was well worth it, the breeze cooled me off and there was a giant field of yellow flowers. The view was great from the top but there were a lot of bugs. On the way back i was dumb and went back down the steep way, with the backpack my knees took a beating. Made the loop in under 2.5 hours with around 10 min at the top. Good times.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 25, 2009

This was a great day for a hike.  Sunny and not real warm.  My husband and I do this once a year at least (whether we need it or not)  We have never seen it so crowded, there was actually a park employee there directing traffic and parking.  The hike up is always a challenge but the wildflowers and the view at the top this year were spectacular.  The Wildflowers were a bit later than normal because of the cooler spring. 

We did make one bad decision.  Because of all the hikers we went down the steeper trail.  Really hard on the knees because there is no relief from the descent.  I paid for it with a nasty spill just before reaching the bottom.  Watch those tree roots!

By: Sherry Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2009
It was a gorgeous day, and the wildflowers were in full splendor.  I always go up the steep side (far right) and down the more gentle traverse (much easier on the knees).  On the way up it was delightfully breezy as it always is at the top.

By: suzicruzi Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 18, 2009
One of my favorites in the Columbia River Gorge, especially in May when the Balsam Root flowers are blooming. As mentioned you gain quite a bit of altitude right out of the parking area for about the first mile or so. The views are incredible! Be sure to pack enough water and sunscreen as much of the trail is exposed, especially coming down in the afternoon sun if you choose the Aussberger loop coming back. I've never seen snakes, but there is plenty of Poison Oak on the lower parts of the trail both going up and coming down. Even if you do not touch it, beware of others' dogs brushing up against you! Most folks do not leash their dogs and most never give concern to their dogs running in the Poison Oak then rubbing up against other hikers. It can be windy at the top, so even on a nice calm morning plan to take a wind shell. You'll be glad you did! Also, this trail is over-crowded on weekends!! Try to hike mid-week if you can arriving at the trail head by 9am. Enjoy and remember pack out what you pack in.... including orange peels! Contrary to what some believe, those are not "natural" to the environment on Dog Mountain. You can make wildlife sick by leaving fruit, or PBJ sandwiches behind for the critters.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 25, 2008
Dog mountain is a challenge for my wife and I.  We are approaching 60 and don't want this mountain to kick  our butts.   We do  this hike in about  2 hours  Many people never make it half way. I wish we would have discovered this mountain 20 years ago.  You will hurt the next day if you are a recreational hiker! There are rattle snakes around!   Beware!Keep your dogs on a leash.  Have fun!

By: Stephen Zimmerman Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 14, 2008
It was a nice hike it is the first hike for me that had the word Mountain and summit in it. We left at 4:15pm and we got back at 9:20pm so I think we made good time. We took the more diffcult path the way up and yes it is a bit steep. About . At a few points there are even diffcult ways and we took them too. On the way back we took the easier path but the rocks and snow made it seem more diffcult. At the top it was snowing really good and the wind was making it hard to stay up right. I would say it not the the person that is afraid of heights.  Over all I would say its not a good idea to go when the weather is bad.  The view up is worth the trek, although at the summit it was in the cloud line and we couldnt see anything.  

By: W Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 12, 2008

I went up the east side (counter clockwise on the map,) which was pretty much what I expected- very steep, mostly dry except for a little snow at the top.  Coming down the west side was more difficult than I expected, mostly because there is a large patch of snow/ice in the woods.  I found it easier to walk in the snow and dig my heels in.  The downslope side of the trail looks deceptively clear, but it was actually quite slick.  I went slowly, because a little lost time was preferable to a twisted ankle.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 3, 2008
I am 40, in pretty good shape.  Went up this morning with my wife and two boys (14 and 12).  Weather, clear (though breezy at the top).  Snow and ice and mud on the trail made it slick in spots.  Less than 5 people, 2 trail workers,  2 dogs and a squirrel were seen.  WHAT A VIEW!  Coming down was slow due to the slickness in spots, but kids were wearing tennis shoes, not hiking shoes.  We will be back in May, and again and again.  Took about 180 pictures.

By: Erika Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 25, 2007
I live near here, and I do this hike frequently, fantastic views, and wonderful foliage. You might want to fix your picture in the description as it shows that its in the northern edge of Oregon, when in fact its the southern edge of Washington...the other half of the gorge IS in Washington, I'm a bit offended that WA never makes the headlines :(

By: Elisa & June Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 27, 2007
After reading previous reviews, we were a  bit apprehensive about the difficulty of the hike.  While it was certainly challenging, we found that with a steady pace and plenty of rest/water breaks, we made it up to the top in 2 hours taking the less difficult route.  Amos the dog enjoyed every minute but needed water every time we did and was happy to rest at the summit.  We recommend starting early in the morning, preferably on a weekday, and wearing lightweight pants and layers, since it was very windy at the top.  Snacks or sandwiches replenished our energy levels while enjoying the vista.  Views are breathtaking (Hood, St. Helens, & Adams!), even without the wildflowers.  Repellant is a good idea.   On our way down, because it was so steep, we found ourselves "trouncing" (trotting & bouncing) down the trail.  Not only was this a quick way down (70 minutes), but easier on the joints.  Happy hiking!

By: Laurie Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 24, 2006
Usually make this hike during the month of May, so with the heat wave near the end of June, hiking then altered the comfort level. In any case, starting early in the morning is always a good tactic. It's a hike that anyone in varying degrees of condition can make. We usually take the more intense direct route--terrific workout. If you wear shorts, repellent is recomended because along the way and especially at the summit, the bugs are biting. It's always worth the effort--guaranteed. The views are spectacular--you'll wish you had wings to fly!

By: John Sparks Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 14, 2005
This hike is best in April and May. The western (Augspurger Mountain) trail is the best way to go up as it takes in a meadow on the northwest side of Dog Mountain that those who take the eastern loop don't see. There may be deer up here if you start early. Also, ornery rattlesnakes will appear on the trail later to heat up their chilled coils. There is a lot of poison oak, especially on the central (and steepest) of the three trail options.

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