Explore 2018 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

2018 Map

This hike is on the tougher side! The loop on this trail map includes the "most difficult" section (left) and the "difficult" (right). We opted to do the "difficult" as an out and back, which is actually just a bit longer than doing the loop. Some areas are super steep, and there are rocks on the trail as you get up towards the summit. The views are amazing, and the wind whips pretty wild up top. Our dog was fine the entire way, and we ended at 7.6 miles in 3.5 hours, including a 20 minute break at the top for snacks and photos.

Great hike along a river with plenty of smaller falls on the way. There was a downed tree on the trail when I went (11/09/18) about 1.6 miles in. It gets rocky in some parts, but overall fairly easy.

2 days ago

Started at south trailhead and scrambled up the rock at the top. A clear day is a must for the incredible view!

Completed 8-26-18

Nice easy hike with a few slightly steep & rocky areas. When we got to the trailhead parking lot around 10:30, there was already about 10 cars and when we got back to the parking lot after our hike around 2:30, there was at least 25 cars. Popular trail, but it wasn’t crowded. No port-a-potty, so plan accordingly :)


Did it with our Golden and had an amazing time. Side note: Rocky in some spots. We passed by some people that turned around because they thought they were at the end of the trail (Don't do this! The waterfalls are gorgeous!)

21 days ago

Great to backpack, but it's a little extreme to call this one "moderate" in difficulty.

People talk about a rough road and 4x4s only, when there's no real reason to take the 4x4 road. Start from Shellrock Lake, and it's a dead-easy 6mi of friendly, even trail with minimal (mayyybe 1500 ft) gain. As of fall 2018, there are very few sections with roots/tough footing/blow-downs. Unless you're (mentally) unstable or have a new 4Runner you want to try out, there's no reason whatsoever to shave-off 1.9 dead-easy miles by attempting a Gresham "truck nuts" approach. I drove to Shellrock in a 40 year-old German convertible and it was fine. Your 1999 Honda Civic with the huge muffler, ground effects, and the 4ft fin on the back? It fine. Trust me. I mean, no one likes it and--contrary to popular belief--that bass *will not* get you women, but your sick whip?? It'll do just fine, bra.

So let's rate the difficulty, as these reviews make this wonderfully peaceful, friendly, and mellow trail sound like trying to do Dog, Defiance, and Devil's Rest in the same day with a 60lb pack (and yup, that's called the TripleD: only really bored Mazamas, tweekers, and--for whatever reason--mechanical engineers like doing that.)

So if the PCT from Mexico to Canada is an 11 on the 1-10 scale of backpacking difficulty, and you were bored/silly enough to want backpack Defiance (9), then this is maybe a 3.5. Maybe. Mind you, on this scale walking to PSU from the Pearl with your Jansport full of books is a 1, and Mirror Lake with a tent, a bag, a sixer, and Cheetos (no Tom/Dick/Harry) is a 2.

The Serene Lake backpack is great, easy to drive to, and most any first-time backpacker could make it. If you stopped every 30 mins for rest, you'd be fine if you started before noon: it's only 6mi to the lake. Also, so many little baby lakes and mellow camp spots are peppered throughout this hike. Even if the 8 or so decent lake spots were taken, there are a ton more cool flat spots within a mile of the lake that'd be great if you just ported h20 in your Camelback.

Oh, and take the wonderful "long way out" heading west out of Serene Lake on the return and use the Grouse Point trail to then head back east. It adds another mile or two and maybe an additional 6-700ft of overall gain, but is equally mellow given enough time.

Anyway, loved this backpack. It'd be a go-to for taking first-time backpackers who wanted to do something that was quiet and friendly, but gave you that (priceless) feeling of being more than 10 miles away from a Plaid Pantry.

For a challenge, might be cool as a snowshoe.

5 stars. And I'll include a complete trail map from the Shellrock Lake start point in my profile photos with a title if that's of use to anyone.

22 days ago

You have the choice of taking either the, "difficult" route or the, "more difficult" route. I regret to tell you I took the, "more difficult" route. It. Kicked. My. Ass. It was relentless. Constant climbing. Zero breaks. I recommend taking the, "difficult" route. Some parts of the trail, especially towards the top, are rocky. Wear legit hiking boots/shoes. I saw quite a few people wearing tennis shoes, which seemed really dangerous and stupid. The views are gorgeous, and even though I felt like jello by the end of it, it was worth it. This hike took me just under four hours. There's a $5 fee and a bathroom at the start of the trail.

Amazing. Hard ascent but absolutely worth it

Up was hard, it keeps going up with very few breaks but worth the views. I stayed to the right which stays closer to thev river with a nice view point. When I got to the top I went off the back and looped around to the other trail. I wish I would have went back down the way I went up. The views were better going up. The down was much harder the the up, legs were jello when I got back to the car.

Beautiful scenery on a clear October day. Just the drive here from PDX proper was worth it. A few other hikers on a Monday morning but didn’t feel crowded. Path gets rocky & has a few largish root tangles throughout but nothing truly difficult. Area near the falls can be very slippery, but how far up you go is up to you - it’s selfie-worthy at the bottom too. Path follows water throughout, super pleasant. Gorgeous short hike.

My brother & I hiked this trail and I've got to say this hike is PERFECT if your not trying to go on a really long hike that has difficult terrain to navigate.
The waterfall at the end is DEFINITELY worth every bit of the hike that it takes to get there.
Plus the whole trail on the way to the waterfall has amazing views and cool spots to stop at.

29 days ago

Great hike! The trail at the trailhead is not marked, so you need to look for it. It’s not the main trail that you see

29 days ago

Fee parking, well-marked trail, big parking lot...great for kids & dogs...go early to beat the weekend crowds...steady incline, beautiful Fall foliage and waterfall

I went two weeks ago with my roommate. We got there around 8:30, and had the trail to ourselves for about 3 miles. It was beautiful. It was an overcast day, and had off and on showers. Parts of the trail were slick. Once on top, the view is great! When we went there was quite a lot of ash and smoke coming in from the forest fires down south. We didn’t stay on the summit long, because of the smoke was a bit hard to breath through after awhile. Loved the trail! We completed it in 3 hrs.

It starts with switchbacks and can get a little tight at times, but gets broader after a mile. There are some roots you have to look out for, but it’s a hike through a forest and to be expected. The majority of the elevation climb is in the switchbacks. We came across a danger turn around sign about a half mile in. We had to pull out the trail map. When you see the sign on your right, take the path to the left. About a 1.5 miles in, there’s a tree down and you have to climb over it. Watch where you’re walking, and look for white spray paint markers on trees.

I would recommend this hike and probably will hike it again!

Steep hike all the way but the views are definitely worth it. The first landing has amazing views overlooking the gorge. The second landing was completely surrounded by fog so we couldn’t see anything. It was also the steepest part of the hike. Probably could’ve just skipped that and looped down after the first overlook. We chose to go up the “difficult” way and down the “more difficult” side, which worked out well.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail!!! Tough to hike, but worth every second of it.

on Dog Mountain Trail

1 month ago

This hike truly earns the difficult rating.

The "more difficult" route is hilariously steep, and, for much of the hike, your heels won't be on the ground. Each time it briefly leveled out, 50 feet later it was back to being straight up.

This has to be the most difficult hike I've done to date - I haven't hiked many, but this amount of elevation gain over only 3 miles was honestly insane.

The trail is very well kept going up and down, though there are some rocky areas near the summit that deserve a little caution.

The views at the top are incredible - I can't imagine how beautiful it would be in summer with the flowers in bloom.

My wife, our Beagle and Vizsla, and I started this awesome but grueling ascent around 9am. We reached the top by 1030am. Don’t shy away from the “more difficult” route, pretty sure either way will be tough and require several stops. Despite the fact that there aren’t any waterfalls, the views of the winding Columbia are hard to beat. Very rewarding and the way down isn’t too rough. Good luck!

Have you ever used the stair climber at your local gym? Well this is the real world version... It took us 3 hours total to finish and my legs were toast (I also hadn't hiked in about 3 weeks prior). Views of the gorge are incredible, but the wind at the top was pestering.

1 month ago

Views are awesome and the climb is hard, for real, but doable. Took us about 4 hours but that was because our old dog couldn’t make it the entire way so for the last 1.5 Miles I had to carry my 70lbs 10 year old Pitbull down. Don’t worry we took lots of water breaks and brought food for him too, but his legs were just giving out and shaking so bad. He stopped several times on his own and he didn’t want to move. Poor guy. The decent was really hard on him. I didn’t think it would be that bad, but it was clearly uncomfortable for him and my wife and I on our knees. FYI he is a very spry and energetic dog. Still has a ton of play in him. Didn’t think this would take it out of him like that. We loaded up some packs for us so we had unnecessary weight on to help us train but it was very hard on the knees. We also took the “more difficult” path. Maybe it really is more difficult, I don’t know it was our first time doing this trail, so maybe that added to it. So keep the old pouches off this trail, and prepare to beat your knees up a little but it is definitely a workout with great views. I felt my legs more after this hike than I did on Mt St Helens on a summer hike, mostly due to the decent. Enjoy it.

1 month ago

really kicks your butt, relentlessly. but worth it for the view. downhills harder than uphill. I know that now for sure.

One of my favorite waterfalls! Amazing this time of year with the fall colors coming in but even better in the snow! A must do!

I hiked it last week. Amazing hike! Pretty steep at some points, a great workout for the heart.
My Fitbit recorded 6.75 miles in 3.5 hours round trip. Gorgeous views halfway up and towards the top. It got rainy and windy toward to the summit so bring layers as you’ll never know what awaits you. -:)
Even if you don’t see much because the clouds roll in it feels very rewarding to hike to the top.
I will keep hiking it to keep me in shape.

Happy hiking! Cheers!

1 month ago

Beautiful place to hike for summer!!!

it was a good challenging trail. It was fun and refreshing.

2 months ago

Having on two previous occasions hiked Mount Defiance and Dog Mountain each on the same day, I decided to attempt a triple ... Defiance once and Dog twice.
August 31, 2018
7:20 a.m. start up Mount Defiance (Trail #413 out and back)
10:19 a.m. summit 1
12:57 p.m. down
1:44 p.m. start up Dog Mountain (1st loop, Augspurger Trail to Dog Mt Trail)
3:24 p.m. summit 2
4:31 p.m. down
4:48 p.m. start up Dog Mountain (2nd loop, Augspurger Trail to Dog Mt Trail)
6:43 p.m. summit 3
7:53 p.m. down and done
25.4 miles, 10,440 elevation gain/loss, 11 hours, 6 minutes total hike time
23rd time up Mount Defiance, 95th & 96th time up Dog Mountain

2 months ago

This was a fun trail for me & a family friend (kiddo that is 10 yrs old) to explore! The trail was clearly marked, dusty, rocky at points, and beautiful to walk along water the majority of the way. I would recommend this if you want a quick morning/afternoon hike. Enjoy!

Hard hike the whole way up but amazing views the whole time!

Load More