Dog Mountain is one of those reasons you move to the Pacific Northwest. A short, strenuous hike to a beautiful hilltop meadow filled with yellow balsam root, lupine, larkspur, and paintbrush. Glorious views of the Columbia River Gorge and the tips of the closer Cascadian peaks. Post-hike beers within 10 minutes of the trailhead.
During flower time, it’s a pilgrimage. It becomes one of those places you go back to every once in a while to make sure it’s still gorgeous (yes) and to see what it’s like to hike with 50 to 100 other people (social). It’s the hike you take out-of-town visitors on or take that friend who doesn’t get outdoors very often. It’s a hiking right-of-passage for many (and also part of the spring mountaineering condition program). It’s a good place to re-educate yourself about poison oak.
My own Dog Mountain pilgrimages cycle like bear grass. The last time I hiked it was in 2007, before that, 2002, and before that, 1997. I had planned to hike up Table Mountain on Monday but changed my mind at the last minute because it was such a beautiful day and I knew that the flowers would be peaking. Others had the same idea. Still, I was mildly surprised to find 50 cars at the trailhead on a Monday.
But I had leftover chili and cornbread tucked into my day pack for lunch, and a little dog by my side. Even with the crowds, it was a glorious reminder of why we love this place and what it is that we moved here for. I look forward to my next Dog hike in 2018.
7 miles, 2,820′+