New Dog Mountain Day-Use Hiking Permits for Weekends
Starting March 31 and lasting through July 1 hikers wishing to use the trail system at Dog Mountain on weekends will be required to purchase a new day-use permit.
Update 3.1.19 - This process has been updated for 2019.
March 7, 2018 - Starting March 31 and lasting through July 1, all hikers using the trail system at Dog Mountain on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) will be required to purchase a new day-use permit. There will be two different permit options.
TWO Permit Options
1. Day-use permit is free, when you take the shuttle.
On weekends, hikers can park at the Skamania County Fairgrounds and take the Dog Mountain shuttle to the trailhead. The shuttle costs $2.00 for roundtrip travel. By using the shuttle, riders will receive, for free, the day-use permit they need to hike the trail. WTA encourages hikers to use the shuttle, which helps improve safety and guarantees access to the trailhead.
- The 2018 Dog Mountain shuttle will start running March 31 about every 30 minutes on weekends only.
- Well-behaved, leashed dogs are allowed.
- Pickups from the Skamania County Fairgrounds begin at 7:30 a.m. and run until 1:30 p.m.
- The last pickup from the Dog Mountain trailhead is at 4:30 p.m., so plan accordingly.
- The Dog Mountain shuttle does not run during the week (Monday through Friday).
2. Get the day-use permit for $1.50 online before you go
Alternatively, hikers can purchase the day-use permit online. Each hiker is required to purchase and carry a permit with them on trail (either paper or an electronic copy). The online permits will cost $1.50 and will be limited to 165 a day. Forest Service expects demand for permits to be high, and encourages hikers to purchase a permit in advance. A few tips for this option:
- Cell phone reception can be spotty, so WTA recommends purchasing and printing a paper copy in advance.
- Cars wishing to park at the trailhead still need to display the parking permit (either the Northwest Forest Pass, an Interagency Pass or pay a $5 parking fee).
- There will not be guaranteed parking in the Dog Mountain trail parking lot, even if you buy a permit online.
Permits can be purchased online at national online reservation system.
The Forest Service says they will be checking hiker permits at the trailhead and on trail. Every hiker needs to have a permit, including children. Failure to show proof of a purchased permit may result in a citation. Hikers accessing Dog Mountain via the northern trailhead on Augspurger Mountain are also required to purchase and carry a permit with them. Permits will not be required during the week or during off-peak season (August through February).
Why Require Permits
The Forest Service created the permit system to address safety issues related to the overcrowded parking lot and parking along State Route 14. The Forest Service and Washington State Patrol believe the current parking along State Route 14 poses a significant public safety issue. The permit system will limit vehicles allowed to access the trailhead parking lot to designated capacity.
Long Term Solution
WTA is disappointed that the Forest Service has chosen this approach for the 2018 peak season, especially given that the Eagle Creek Fire trail closures on the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge will bring more people to Washington trails, such as Dog Mountain, looking for a place to enjoy the outdoors.
WTA believes day-use hiking permits are a last resort. WTA supports improvements to protect public safety. However, we would like the Forest Service to engage in a broader discussion with stakeholders to identify alternative solutions that ensure everyone has access to Dog Mountain and all the wonderful hikes in the Columbia River Gorge trail system.
This is a vital recreation corridor, even more so with the closures of other trails as a result of the Eagle Creek Fire. We hope that the Forest Service will work to develop a solution that will rise to meet the growing demand and provide access to everyone.
If you have questions you can contact the Forest Service at: 541-308-1700 or visit the Forest Service website.