From the trailhead the trail should be easy to spot on the South side of the dirt road turnout. The trail almost immediately turns... more » eastward as it gains elevation steadily for a quarter mile or so. Watch for a spur trail to the left just before the main trail turns southward. The spur decends sharply down to a to a great East-facing viewpoint. Leash pets and take little ones by the hand, as there are a few sharp drop-offs.
Return to the main trail as it again starts climbing moderately steeply for the next mile or so. You will cross a talus slope a few times as the long sweeping switchbacks cross it. Eventually the trail levels out to a forest with a high canopy. You are nearing the summit at this point. Continue another 1/4 mile and you'll come across a large sign describing the cultural and historical significance of this mountain as a spirit quest site.
The sign informs you that sections of the summit are closed to hikers:
This archaelogical site is extremely fragile. Just walking over it will damage important cultural features. Therefore, the USDA Forest Service has closed the site to hikers. All visitors must stay on the trail or within designated areas shown on the map.
It isn't long before you reach the summit. The summit does not have a 360 view, but you'll find the designated viewing areas afford you spectactular views to the East and to the West. Looking East you have a great perspective of Dog Mountain. To the south across the Columbia River you will see Mitchell Point. Following the horizon toward the East you see Mount Defiance, the highest mountain in the gorge.
Looking West down the Columbia River you might spot Indian Point, a rock sphire along the Oregon side. On the Washingon side, due West you will be Table Mountain and Greenleaf Peak. On a clear day, look to your Northwest and spot Mount Saint Helens. less «