In spring, due to the popularity of this trail, a permit is required for each person hiking the trails on Dog Mountain on weekends. If you are staying on the north Augpurger Mountain trail, you do not need a permit, but you do need a permit if you are using this trail to access the Dog Mountain trail system. Get them here.
Find incredible spring wildflowers and one of the best ridge hikes in the Gorge; just be prepared for a difficult drive to get there. While Dog Mountain to the south is crowded, you’ll have these sweeping vistas to yourself. WTA volunteers are taking on a major trail restoration effort to be completed in 2015.
Right off the bat the route climbs steeply through the forest. A section across lichen encrusted talus provides the first views or the eastern Gorge. Ducking back into the trees again large Doug-fir trees grow in the shelter of the ridge. Once you leave the shelter of the trees the ridge drops off steeply to the west. You're open to the views here, but also strong winds funneled up the Gorge.
An excellent view of Mount Adams, St. Helens and the Gorge greets you at 3,447 feet. To continue on to the true summit at 3,667 feet., keep heading south along the ridge. The trail flattens out in a sheltered saddle then rises again. to a broad meadow bench covered in wildflowers in the spring. (The actual summit is forested so most people turn around here.)
If you want to continue south to Dog Mountain it is another 4.7 miles. It is difficult route to follow because the thimbleberry grows so vigorously wherever it gets enough sun.