Springs Grand show of Balsamroot on Dog Mountain

Dog Mountain rises 2800 feet up from the shores of the Columbia River on the Washington side and is one of the most popular trails in the Gorge for a window of time in spring. Its upper slopes turn yellow with extensive tracts of Balsamroot, especially during peak bloom in May through June. Crowds swarm the trail, filling up the parking lot right off of SR-14, so arriving early is advised, and checking and obtaining permits for weekends April-June.

The route is best done as a 7.4 mile long loop. To head steeply up to the flower show, take the Dog Mountain Trail past the restrooms at the end of the parking. There’s a junction where a right takes you on more scenic albeit steeper route where the flower show begins. The trail switchbacks through open slopes of balsamroot and expansive views up and down the Gorge. Mount Defiance rises up across the way in Oregon. The trail climbs to the summit, and then continues north down the ridge past the summit to a junction. A hard left takes you south on the Augspurger Trail which winds its way through the woods and back the trail head.

Published by Jim Wilson

An avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, I settled in Oregon after years of working on hiking trails in Southeast Alaska with the USFS and exploring the Pacific Northwest and rest of the country in the offseason.

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