On the way up is this view of Mt. St. Helens on the left and Mt. Adams on the right. You can also see what the road looks like. This is looking back along the road that we’ve already traveled.
This week, my sister, great nephew, and I walked up a logging road and then took a short path to the top of Dunegan Mountain. I didn’t find this hike on any hiking sites or on AllTrails. It is on DNR land behind a gate, but we saw no No Trespassing signs. This is a lovely hike. It is uphill all the way but not too strenuous. A detour up a woodland path gets you to the top of the mountain, which has views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Yacolt Mountain, and an obstructed view of Mt. Adams (although you can see slightly better views of Mt. Adams on the way up). We went on a sunny day. Although the forest has been logged (so bring your hat!), we also passed through shaded areas, because one side of the road is protected from logging.
Dunegan Mountain Logging Road
DNR Land near Amboy, Washington
Distance: about 2.5 miles
Panting stops: 5-7
Elevation changes: 300-400 feet
My great nephew having a socially distanced lunch at the top of the mountain. Mt. Hood is that tiny white dot to the right of his head above the smaller mountains. It looks much bigger in person. Yacolt Prairie is beneath him. You can see a bit of it on the right.
Although Dunegan Mountain is 1760+ feet high, the Columbia Tie Road winds its way up it, so that by the time you park near the gate before the logging road, you are only about 300 or 400 feet from the top. The road is winding and of gravel, with very big stones, the four-inch kind, in some places, so you have to be careful about your footing, especially on the way back down.
The road at first goes through logged territory that seems a little desolate, but as it climbs, which it does steadily but at a gentle angle, it emerges into forest on one side of the road with views of the Yacolt and Chelatchie Prairies and the surrounding big mountains. There are several good views of Mt. St. Helens and one or two of Mt. Adams on the way up. The trip is all uphill, but as it is not at a steep angle, I just needed to stop every once in a while to get my heart rate down.
Mt. St. Helens from the top of the Dunegan Mountain
Where the road makes a Y, go to the right both times. After the second Y, look for a faint trail on the right, marked by a cut log about four feet long, for a short cut to the top of the mountain. At the time I went, the trail was hard to see because it was overgrown. My sister, who went earlier in the year, said it was easier to see in the spring. Don’t worry if you miss this trail. You can still see good views ahead.
The short trail to the top goes through the woods and up some rocky territory, and is quite a bit steeper than the road. It look me longer, but I was able to go all the way up to the top. At the top is a grassy meadow, with really nice views of Mt. St. Helens, Yacolt Mountain, the prairies below, and Mt. Hood off in the distance. There is an obstructed view (behind trees) of Mt. Adams.
Once we came back down to the logging trail, we turned right to go on to the quarry at the end of the road. If you miss the woodland path, you can spend some time sitting on the rocks (or in my great nephew’s case, climbing them) and looking at a view that is almost as good. If you feel like clambering, there is a path up to the top from the quarry, but the woodland path is much easier. (My great niece and nephew found the woodland path by going down from the mountain after they clambered up to the top from the quarry.) If you missed the path in the first place and still want to try for it, it may be easier to see it on the way back, as it is just around the corner from the quarry. First, you’ll see a short path with some wooden barriers on it and farther on the cut log next to the woodland path.
The way back is downhill all the way but not steep, so it was easy, but I was tired from the effort of going uphill all the way, so I had a case of stumble foot. That’s why, especially if you’re clumsy like me, at least one stick is a good idea. Also a hat and plenty of water. I had my dog with me, so I only had one stick in case I needed to leash him, but having that stick was helpful.
How to get there
Take WA-500 and then WA-503 north from Vancouver to Battle Ground. Once through Battle Ground, drive about 10 miles to Amboy. When WA-503 turns right next to Amboy Middle School, go straight on NE 221st Avenue. The road ends at NE Cedar Creek Road. Turn right. About two miles later, turn left on Columbia Tie Road. I couldn’t get a good measurement on this from Google Maps, but at about 1.5 miles, you will see Columbia Tie Pond Road on the left. You can park right across the road from it or you can turn right on the next unmarked road and park in front of the gate. This road is very narrow, so keep in mind that you will have to turn around to get out. Walk around the gate and start your hike.
From Portland or Seattle
Take I-5 north from Portland or south from Seattle to WA-502,, the Battle Ground exit. Turn left onto WA-503 in Battle Ground. Drive about 10 miles to Amboy. When WA-503 turns right next to Amboy Middle School, go straight on NE 221st Avenue. The road ends at NE Cedar Creek Road. Turn right. About two miles later, turn left on Columbia Tie Road. I couldn’t get a good measurement on this from Google Maps, but at about 1.5 miles, you will see Columbia Tie Pond Road on the left. You can park right across the road from it or you can turn right on the next unmarked road and park in front of the gate. This road is very narrow, so keep in mind that you will have to turn around to get out. Walk around the gate and start your hike.
Parking and facilities
There is room for one or two cars off Columbia Tie Road across from Columbia Tie Pond Road, or there is room on the unmarked road before the gate for two or three cars, but keep in mind it will be difficult to turn around.
There are no facilities. I took my dog and let him go off leash. There were no other people besides us on the road.