As many of us know the parking situation at Dog Mountain during the spring can be an ordeal more difficult than the hike itself. Now I do not mind getting up stupid early to do a hike, but I live several hours away and enjoy dragging others along on my little schemes. So, I made a 4 part plan.
Go on Sunday. Weekdays were ruled out do to this thing called work and people are more likely to hike on Saturday than Sunday for some reason unknown to me. So, Sunday was the day.
Eat breakfast at the trailhead. This will save about half an hour. I packed up yogurt, fruit, and beagle bites. This also allows breakfast to be at a time when I’m actually hungry because who’s really hungry at 5am. It is certainly not me.
Camp near the trailhead. I found a campground that is a 15-minute drive from the trailhead. It was a nice campground with wifi, showers, and ice cream. In the tent sites, they had a layer of shaved wood to put your tent on, like hamster bedding. It was fantastic! Between the hamster bedding and our sleeping pads it was like sleeping on a cloud. It was the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had in a tent. Highly recommend the hamster bedding. Here is a link to the website of the campgrounds we stayed at.
Do the loop. I have found to avoid crowds and be kind to the knees, that it is best to do the loop. I like to go up the common route and then back down the other side of the mountain. It is less crowded and not as steep.
These 4 simple steps are a recipe to Dog Mountain success. We beat the crowds to the top of the mountain and to the parking lot. And borrowing one of my father parking colloquialisms, “We got the number one spot, in the number one row.”