By Audrey Andrews | January 7th, 2021
Grants Pass, Oregon
Out & Back:
750 feet elevation gain
Dollar Mountain is the first hike I’ve completed in Oregon. The trailhead lies just northwest of downtown Grants Pass and is about 2.5 road miles from Interstate 5. With a trailhead in a neighborhood and close proximity to a major town, I doubted the potential for Dollar Mountain, but it seemed like the only option for a quick, scenic hike. The trail far exceeded my expectations and I’ve since returned.
The trailhead appears a bit underwhelming, but the path quickly picks up in grade. Within the first quarter mile, reminders of the surrounding city abate and Dollar Mountain begins to feel like, well, a hike.
Just prior to the first view, the trail becomes quite steep. On the way down, I slipped a bit here after losing my footing. While there are routes veering off to the sides, the correct way is simply up. On Dollar Mountain, if it is not uphill, it’s the wrong direction.
Perhaps only because I am not aquatinted with the northwest, the lusciousness of the trail surprised me. Even in the midst of winter, greenery was everywhere.
The summit of Dollar Mountain yields gorgeous views of the Rogue Valley, but the radio tower atop dominates the area. The far side of the radio tower offers the best views of the valley.
At the summit, hikers will notice a gravel road continuing down the other side of Dollar Mountain. While you can continue down dirt roads and through a small neighborhood to create a 2.8 mile loop back to the trailhead, I would recommend against this if you are an anxious hiker. The unpaved roads are nice at first, but soon hikers will encounter trashed, spray-painted cars down steep ravines and shot up furniture and trash dumps. Honestly, the loop gave me a bit of the creeps.
To complete the out and back, simply head down the same trail upon reaching the summit. Watch out for wet leaves on the steepest areas to avoid falling backwards. For a short hike so close to Grants Pass, the views and elevation gain of Dollar Mountain are fantastic.