The Dog River Trail is one of those gems that is way less popular than it really should be. This spring the trail was the course of the Fluid Ride Cup Enduro DH. We didn’t make it out to this event, and I’m still kicking myself for not making the extra effort to do so. (next year for sure)
Although the trail is obviously popular, based on the traffic at the exit of the trail head, (where we dropped our fetch vehicles) I’m actually surprised at how few people I know have ridden this trail.
Located on the Hood River side of Mount Hood, the Dog River Trail is just one section of a trail system that features enough single track riding that one could feasibly get lost for days. The trail system also includes the Surveyor’s Ridge Trail, and it is entirely possible that there simply is so much epic riding in the area that it is overshadowed by the internationally renown Post Canyon trails.
Riding trails like this simply makes me jealous of the residents of the Hood River area. Whereas Portland is simply fighting to get a fitness loop on genuine single track trail, Hood River has so much riding that a trail like this doesn’t even make it on the radar for many. With at least 1.5 hours of drive time to reach the trail from Portland, it is a bit of a trek to make it out here, but if you love riding flying down ripping single track, you owe it to yourself to check this trail out. Eight miles of a ripping descent await you, with some seriously epic views. A solid climb a few miles in eliminates the desire to bring a heavier freeride bike, but on my 6″ travel Trek Remedy and high volume single ply tires, I was a happy little clam with the wind in my hair all the way down this excellent piece of trail goodness.
The trail is pretty typical of those found in the pacific northwest; forest single track littered with roots and rocks. There is a sweet rock garden section that comes up about halfway down the trail that was super fun, but we saw riders on bikes ranging from front suspension XC hard tail rigs, to a Nomad with a heavy build kit.
To find the trail, I recommend picking up a copy of the Hood River Trail map, available at local bike shops. I remember riding many of these trails years ago, in my XC days, and if I recall correctly, it is entirely possible to do an even longer all mountain option, starting from a higher point on Lookout Mountain. Half of our riding group had to split after two laps down the trail, so we followed it up with a quick spin up 7 Streams at Post Canyon before heading home.