I took WA-14 eastbound from Vancouver, WA. It's 54 miles from Vancouver and 6.2 miles from the Carson turnoff/round-about.
Note: "A Dog Mountain Trail System Permit is required April 23 through June 12 (Saturday and Sunday only)." - https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/273800
I took Hwy 84 to Hood River. At the toll bridge I got some gas and snacks. The Dog Mtn parking lot only had about 4-5 cars. There was a Jeep so I gifted my yellow duckie.
I've been wanted to do this hike but poor air quality has been thwarting my plans these past few weeks. I was glad to have good weather, no wind, and low AQI.
Length: 6.12 mi
Elevation gain: 2,756 ft
Moving time: 2:56:27
Total time: 3:19:11
Avg. pace: 28:49
This was my fourth
visit and first time there without snow!
I was prepared for snowy conditions but I could tell from the view from Hwy 84 that there was virtually no snow. I'd also read some trail reports that confirmed the same.
I packed my winter jacket but wore my light jacket.
About 3 - 4 switchbacks up, I stopped to take off my fleece vest and wrapped my light jacket around my waist. I saw a few hikers coming down that were dressed like it was spring.
The sky was clear when left the parking lot but was cloudy when I reached the viewpoint at 1600'. I pressed on and was rewarded with some nice views of the Gorge & Columbia River below and a sunlit Mt St Helens to the northwest.
Some remnants of the snow from earlier in the month lined the edge. Above Puppy Dog Point is pretty muddy. I chatted with a pair of hikers at the top who'd done Augspurger Trail.
I made good time on my descent though
my hamstrings and IT band were pretty unhappy.
The Jeep I'd "ducked" was still there when I got back to the parking lot. It was the guy from the top that I'd chatted with. Unfortunately, his rear window was smashed and thieves had stolen some gear worth a few hundred dollars.
Luckily, my own Jeep was spared and untouched. Since being broken into in the Pearl, I'd gotten into the habit of removing all unnecessary stuff and stashing the rest out of view. In fact, I'd put my extra jacket and snow shoes under the back seat. My glove box and center console were also locked. After a coworker's motorcycle was stolen, I'd purchased a 2nd Club so I use both these days.
Sucks how prevalent break-ins has become at trailheads everywhere. I'd naively thought that the high visibility of this parking lot would be a deterrent but suppose it's not hard to blend in and wait for lulls in traffic to smash n grab.
Besides my preventive measures, I'm not sure what else you can do. It makes me wary about this parking lot and anecdotal stories about burglars hitting a bunch of cars at once. I know places like Angel's Rest have places with good cover for thieves and easy access to the Hwy 84 for quick getaway, making it risky.
On the contrary, places like Silver Star Mountain are remote and probably not targets for most low level thugs. However, the remoteness is also deceivingly safe.
In the end, you can't stop living and enjoy things. It's a violation of personal space but it's also just stuff. Fuck thieves and vandals. But I will probably hike Dog Mountain again in the future. Cross my fingers that I don't have to deal with a break-in. Argh. Sigh.