- Level: Moderate
- Length: 2.5 miles
- Elevation: 1,100 ft. gain
- Type: out and back
- Open: all year
- Permit: n/a (fairly certain), $2 for Bridge of the Gods crossing
- Drive time from Portland: 1 hour
- Google map: Shoddy. Details provided below…
- Features: Columbia River Gorge, Dog Mountain, Native American sacred site
Native American terrace on the summit of Wind Mountain.
If you aren’t crushed out on Wind Mountain, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. It’s a precious, perfectly round, tiny mountain! A Tiny Mountain! I just like the way that sounds. It’s a cinder cone, really. I’ve always admired it’s smooth-seeming appearance from other trails like Dog Mountain and from Indian Point (via Herman Creek), or just driving by in the Gorge. Climbing it has been on my list for awhile and on a day where I didn’t have a lot of time, but was dying to get out and see something, it was the perfect choice.
This is important: Wind Mountain is a sacred site. The summit features pits and terraces created by and still used by native people for spirit quests. Do not mess with any of the structures, take anything or leave anything. There is a side trail, that I didn’t actually see, specifically used by natives. Do not use that trail.
Directions here are hard to come by, so I’m breaking a rule and providing them. From Cascade Locks, cross Bridge of the Gods ($1 toll) and turn R on Hwy 14 for 7.7-ish miles (I recall it being nearly 8 miles, actually). Between mileposts 50 and 51, turn Left onto Wind Mountain Road. After 1.1 miles, keep right. In another 0.4 mile turn right onto Girl Scout Rd. for 0.2 mile, where you’ll reach a large gravel parking area. You can either park here or continue down the hill another 200 yards where there is more parking by the actual trailhead, which is unmarked, but obvious and on the right.
Brie on a talus slope near the summit of Wind Mountain.
From the trailhead:
The trail starts steeply and mostly remains so. Be cautious with downed trees and sharp drop offs. There is a viewpoint spur to the left about a 1/4-mile in, but it’s very steep and narrow and on this particular day, icy, so I didn’t check it out. When you reach the short level stretch, you are about a 1/4-mile to the summit. The forested summit has many little side trails to various viewpoints. Return the way you came.