Dog Mountain Loop
This is a difficult lollipop trail in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Steep and quick, you are essentially climbing the entire time. Be prepared for several weather changes as you ascend. VERY windy at the top. In the fall months you're likely to encounter rain, hail, and even snow. By the time winter hits, snow shoes are necessary as there will be several feet of snow towards the top. You will reach a point ~3.5 miles in towards the top where the trail splits off, and the sign is weathered away. Proceed to the left on the way up to summit the mountain, and if you want an alternate route down on the way back, split off to the right where you encountered the sign (the trail links back up ~ 1.5 miles down). This hike is wildly popular for good reason. It has amazing views of the Columbia River Gorge and neighboring mountains, and provides folks with a nice sense of accomplishment.
Large parking lot alongside highway WA-14. Must have Northwest Forest pass or pay $5 parking fee at kiosk. Permits to hike Dog Mountain are required from April-June on weekends only. Permits (as well as NW Forest Pass) may be obtained at Marathon gas station in Stevenson, WA. Trail map at kiosk east of parking lot.
(2/10): I would not recommend taking children on this hike. Terrain is steep, jagged, slippery and dangerous at points.