By Ryan Yambra (@Ryambra)
Dog Mountain is among the most popular hiking destinations in the Gorge. During springtime, the mountain boasts abundant wildflowers as well as multiple vistas offering expansive views of the Gorge. But make no mistake--with about 2,800 feet of elevation gain in less than three miles, Dog Mountain is a steep hike requiring some fitness.
Due to Dog Mountain’s (relatively) lower elevation, this hike is a great early season challenge. For this day, we expected the worst as the weather forecast hinted at wind and rain. But we encountered the opposite: unusually warm temperatures, moderate cloud cover, and zero rain. We didn’t even make it a mile before we chose to take off some of our layers.
Beginning at the Dog Mountain Trailhead, the path starts off steep. After .7 miles of climbing, freeway traffic sounds begin to fade as the trail reaches a junction in the forest. At this point, the trail splits in two directions: an older route marked ‘more difficult’ and a newer, ‘less difficult’ one. We were up for a challenge, so we took a left up the ‘more difficult’ trail.