Dog Mountain Loop
Central Gorge, Washington
On the Dog Mountain trail (photographer: Greg Lief)
Hike Details
Type:
Loop
Distance:
6.9 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
2820 feet
Difficulty:
Strenuous
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
No
Restrooms:
Yes
Trailhead Pass:
Trail Details
WildflowersBeautiful Views
Dog Mountain is a popular hike due to its easy access in the Gorge, beautiful views, and relatively short distance. Don't let the distance and low elevation fool you, however; the trails are very steep and will require some fitness and perseverance. This loop is known for prime wildflower viewing in May and June, but hikes in the summer and fall are rewarding as well.
 
 

Driving Directions

Dog Mountain Trailhead:  Cross the Bridge of the Gods ($2 toll) into Washington. Turn right heading east on WA Hwy 14. Pass through the town of Stevenson and then Wind Mountain. The trailhead is at milepost #53. Turn left/north into the large gravel parking lot. The Dog Mountain trail heads off to the right. The Augspurger Trail leaves from the same place headed up the hill to the west. This can be a busy lot during the spring and summer months. NW Forest Pass required. Please only park in the designated parking area at this trailhead. It is illegal to park on the shoulder of Hwy 14; tickets and towing are now being enforced due to this extreme safety hazard.

Community Connection

Lyle Cherry Orchard’s trailhead is located approximately one mile from the Gorge town of Lyle and is home to the “Lyle” sign that sits above the community. Since this preserve was opened to the public the Lyle Cherry Orchard has provided the community with an accessible natural space right in their back yard. The sunny and dry preserve is the perfect hiking spot to visit during the rainier fall days in the western gorge. Visitors from the Gorge and beyond recreate on Lyle Cherry Orchard and in turn support the local economy.

Photo: View of town of Lyle from Lyle Cherry Orchard (Debbie Asakawa)

Preserve Story

The property where Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve lies currently was once grazing land for cattle and as the name suggests the eastern part of the preserve held a cherry orchard. The orchard and its trees were well abandoned by the time Nancy Russell purchased the property piece by piece in the 1990’s and later donated it to Friends in 2009. Nancy purchased the property when it came up for sale because it was within key viewing areas on the Oregon side of the Gorge and would have most likely become subdivided for development.

The land is also home to remnants of Lyle Convict Road, a demonstration road built by Sam Hill to convince Washington legislators to fund a Columbia River Highway. When Washington showed no interest in Sam’s project, he invited the entire Oregon legislature to his Maryhill estate to see his "Good Roads" work and Oregon quickly agreed to build on their side of the river what is today the Historic Columbia River Highway.

The trail at Lyle Cherry Orchard was started in when Friends' founder Nancy Russell purchased the property and has been open to the public and maintained Friends and its land trust ever since. In 2019, Washington Trails Association started work to reroute some parts of the trail and add new trail to explore for the benefit of Gorge residents.

In 2013, the land trust and volunteers removed a dilapidated house and outbuildings on the southwestern end of the property. Countless hours were spent removing building materials, old vehicles, garbage, and debris. In 2015 volunteers removed over 1,700 feet of fencing material on the property to allow for the free movement of wildlife across the landscape. Without the help of Friends volunteers and Gorge community members, projects like this would not be possible.

Photos: Before and after cleanup at Lyle Cherry Orchard (Friends' archive)