Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge is rightly famous for its wildflower displays in the springtime. I’ve hiked to its summit over 30 times and enjoy the springtime wildflowers, especially the golden balsamroots, as much as anyone.
But, there is something wonderful about visiting the mountain in the wintertime. An example is a hike to the summit I did on the first full day of winter a few years back.
It’s about three miles to the top with roughly 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Coming down from the summit there is an easier loop trail of four miles, much easier on the knees.
As expected there was snow on the Trail, one inch and slushy at the bottom and five inches of fresh snow at the summit. Dog Mountain is in the eastern Gorge on the Washington side of the Columbia River. It can be a miserable hike when the wind is blowing hard, a common event. The scenery near the summit showed the obvious effects of heavy winds. Thankfully, I was treated to a fairly nice day with little wind and some sun breaking through periodically.
Due to the fresh snow and the cold temperatures near the summit, hoarfrost had formed on many of the trees. It made for stark but beautiful natural artwork.
What a nice day to remember.