The Cowlitz Valley area is administered by the Cowlitz Valley Ranger District. This area is located in the Northern most portion of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in southwest Washington, and comprises about 575,000 acres of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The Cowlitz Valley area is roughly located among three volcanic peaks: Mt. Rainier to the north, Mt. Adams to the east, and Mt. St. Helens to the west. A line connecting Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens following the Boundary Trail #1 makes up the southern boundary. On clear days this trail affords spectacular views.
This trail climbs up steep switchbacks towards Angry Mountain. After entering the Goat Rocks Wilderness, it reaches an open ridge and the grade continues until the trail ends on Lily Basin Trail #86. The highest point on Angry Mountain is 6,049 feet. The name might have come from people hiking the extremely steep ridgeline on the south slope of the mountain. Or the name might refer to the frequent storm clouds surrounding the summit. Wilderness permits are required when entering a Wilderness area. Permits are free and self issued at trailheads.
The west end of this trail is open to hikers only (from Bear Meadows west).The east end of the trail is open to motorcycles, hikers, horses and bicycles (from Bear Meadows east).
The Boundary Trail is 53.7 miles long and has numerous access points and trail junctions. The trail once formed the boundary between the Columbia and Rainier National Forests. Now it marks the southern boundary of the Cowlitz Valley District. This was an important trail in the early history of the Forest Service as it was the principal route used by rangers on horseback patrols. The trail was well established by 1911.
From the west the trail begins at Norway Pass area within the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. (View a Mount St. Helens vicinity map). From Norway Pass to Bear Meadows the trail is open to hikers only. Enjoy excellent views of Mount St. Helens as you hike through the blown-down forest. From Bear Meadows eastward the trail is open to hikers, horses, motorcycles and bicycles. From Bear Meadow to Elk Pass (4.5 miles), the trail is on a timbered, broad ridge, with occasional views of St. Helens Along its length, this trail offers views of St. Helens, Rainier, Adams and a few glimpses of Hood. This area was glaciated repeatedly during the Ice Age. The marks of the glaciers' passage can be seen in the knifelike ridges and cirque basins all along the trail. The trail ends in the east at Council Lake.
The Walupt Lake Trail is within Goat Rocks Wilderness. It begins in the Walupt Lake Campground and follows the lakeshore until reaching Walupt Creek. The trail along the lake is flat and offers great views of the lake. At the end of the lake the trailclimbs into an open alpine area before turning southeast, ending on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000.
The Walupt Lake Trail was used into this century by Yakama people who came to the 384-acre lake and fished for native trout, using fish traps.
The Coleman Weedpatch Horse Trail #121A is a short access trail connecting Walupt Horse Camp to the Coleman Weedpatch Trail #121. The trailhead is about a mile west of Walupt Lake on Forest Road 2160 where Coleman Weedpatch Trail #121 heads into the Goat Rocks Wilderness.
The Tatoosh Trail was originally built to access a grazing allotment for cattle. There was also a Native American trail up Tatoosh Ridge, east of the existing trail. Parts of this trail can still be found today.
Special Conditions: Steep with exposures. Limited trailhead space at both ends. Camping opportunities along the trail are limited.
This trail is open to hiker, horse (not recommended) and bicycle use only.
Located 4 miles east of Packwood, WA, the River View Trail begins on Forest Road 1270 just past "Jody's Bridge." The trail follows the Cowlitz River, offering views into the river canyon. The trail initially climbs, then takes a rolling grade as it winds through an open oldgrowth forest. The trail ends across the Cowlitz from La Wis Wis Campground, with no access across the river. This is an early and late season hiking opportunity for when the higher elevation trails are under snow.
Special Conditions: Steep with exposures. Not recommended for horse use.
This trail begins at mile post 1.7 on Forest Road 44. The trail follows road 44 for 4.8 miles to the end of the road. Carlton Creek must be forded at two locations within this stretch. Carlton Pass was named for William H. Carlton who led a Northern Pacific Railroad survey crew through the pass in 1867. Look for blazed trees along the trail, which marked a cross-mountain route surveyed in 1905.
Take the family on a short hike through a beautiful mixed hardwood and conifer forest along Covel Creek. The trail is used by the Cispus Learning Center for nature study. This low elevation trail makes for a great winter hike.
This trail takes hikers up to High Rock Lookout, one of three fire lookouts remaining on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The lookout offers incredible views of the Sawtooth Ridge, Mt. Rainier, and much of the surrounding landscape.
The trail begins on Forest Road 8440 and climbs steeply through increasingly sparse conifers to High Rock Lookout. High Rock is a prominent 5,685 feet high peak on Sawtooth Ridge with a sheer 600 foot drop on its north face. Please use caution when exploring this area. Stay behind the cables. The fire lookout was built in 1929. Trail #266 is open only to hikers.
Horses, OHV's, and bicycles are prohibited due to steep cliffs and exposures. Occupancy of the lookout building is prohibited due to inadequate lightning protection.
This 3 mile trail provides excellent views of Mt. Rainier and access to a short trail up Glacier View within Glacier View Wilderness. This trail leaves Forest Road 59 and follows the northern boundary of Glacier View Wilderness. The trail descends and ends at Lake West.
This trail is open to motorcycle, ATV, hiker, bicycle, and horse use.
This 11.7 mile multiple use trail climbs steadily through conifer forests and has heavy use. A short section of the trail above Blue Lake is "Hiker Only" to minimize noise near the lake.
Blue Lake Ridge Trail leaves the trailhead on Forest Road 23 and crosses several roads before coming to Blue Lake (at mile 3). The trail proceeds along a rolling ridge, passing by Mouse Lake before descending to Valley Trail #270.
A short section of the trail above Blue Lake is "Hiker Only" to minimize noise near the lake. Other users must use Jumpoff Trail #271A and Bishop Ridge Trail #272 to continue the loop. Blue Lake is at the headwaters of Blue Lake Creek.
The lake was most likely created when a stream was dammed by lava flows from the Blue Lake Volcano, a cinder cone rising immediately west of the lake.
This 2.5 mile trail follows a deep canyon along Blue Lake Creek, which was formed in part to melting glaciers thousands of years ago. The 250 foot wall of columnar basalt was formed by volcanic eruptions beneath a glacier.
The trail climbs steeply in some areas, with rock steps built in to make the climb easier. There are two foot bridges crossing the creek before the trail ends at Blue Lake. The trail is challenging and includes steep side slopes, cliff exposures, and rock stairways.
The access road to this trailhead is steep and narrow.
This 8.8 mile trail begins on Forest Road 4510 just past the access point for Cowlitz Horse Trail #44A, it descends, then begins to climb steeply. The trail reaches the top of the ridge near Log Springs, crosses the summit burn and enters William O. Douglas Wilderness at 3.5 miles. From there it follows the semi-open ridge, offering excellent views of Rainier, then descends to Jug Lake Trail #43 east of Kincaid Lake. In the 1920s and 1930s the trail was used by sheepherders to reach their camps. Kincaid Lake is a 1-acre lake named for Sam Kincaid, a Yakima Valley sheepman who ranged his herds in the area during the early 20th century.
The trail begins at Soda Springs trailhead which is not open to horses. Stock users please use Cowlitz Horse Trail #44A.
Features include Summit Creek and many subalpine lakes. This trail marks a principal Native American travel route across the Cascades. It is part of the prehistoric Yakama Cowlitz Trail, which linked people from the Cowlitz Valley with people from the Yakima River drainage. Native Americans using this trail traveled on foot, often carrying trade goods and roots. They later made the crossing on horseback.
From trailhead the trail climbs into William O. Douglas Wilderness through dense forest to a semi-open ridgeline. It continues southeasterly through several large sub-alpine meadows, ending on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000.
From Forest Road 1284 Sand Lake Trail climbs steeply through dense forest before entering the William O. Douglas Wilderness. The trail follows an even grade towards Cortright Point. Turning east, the trail descends to the Pacific Crest Trail #2000 at Sand Lake. This trail was part of the Yakamainsert-Cowlitz Trail. The Sand Lake Trail once accessed a Nachespam village, now covered by Rim Rock Lake.
Features along this trail include Lily Lake, old growth forest and the upper Clear Fork of the Cowlitz River within Goat Rocks Wilderness.
Beginning at the end of Road 46, the Clear Fork Trail gradually climbs through a dense forest. The trail passes Lily Lake, crosses Clear Lost Trail #76, then follows above the Clear Fork of the Cowlitz River. It crosses the Clear Fork (at 6.5 miles), and then climbs steeply into a forested landscape and ends on the Pacific Crest Trail at Tieton Pass.
Alert: There are no bridges over streams, making crossings difficult until late summer.
From Bluff Lake, the trail climbs to a sub alpine landscape, ending at the junction of Clear Lost Trail #76 and Packwood Lake Trail #78 near the former site of Lost Lake Lookout. Features include Bluff Lake, Huntington Berry Patch, Coal Creek Mountain and Bear Grass Butte. The Bluff Lake Trail was used by Native Americans to access a ridge system used by mountain goat hunters.
The trail follows an abandoned road for half a mile, the trail again leaves the road to the right and climbs through dense forest for 3 miles until it intersects with a timber harvest area. After another half mile, the trail enters the Goat Rocks Wilderness. The trail takes you to an excellent viewpoint of Packwood Lake before its junction with Packwood Lake Trail #78 near Mosquito Lake.
This trail is open to hikers, horses and bicycles.
The 17.1 mile Klickitat Trail is a major ridgetop trail, extending from Kilborn Creek to Elk Peak. Features include ridgetop views, Castle Butte, Jackpot Lake, St. Michaels Lake, and St. John Lake.
The west end of this lightly used trail begins on Forest Road 5508.024 on the Cowlitz Valley District and the east end is on Forest Road 22. Much of the trail corresponds with an original Indian trail which extended from near the mouth of Siler Creek, over Lone Tree Mountain, around Pompey Peak and Horseshoe Point, dropped to Hugo Lake and eventually crossed the Cascades at Cispus Pass. It is called the Klickitat Trail because it extended into the upper Klickitat River drainage. Indian peeled cedar trees can be seen along the trail. Indians made folded bark baskets to collect huckleberries along the ridge system. Castle Butte and the other high peaks along this trail were carved by glaciers. St. Michaels Lake and St. John Lake are in cirque basins also carved by glaciers. Expect patches of snow as late as August.
Special Conditions: Limited trailhead space at Forest Road 22.
Most of this trail is in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. The trail starts at the end of Forest Road 1260 and climbs gently through old-growth. Two small harvest areas are passed within the first 3/4 mile, offering views of Mt. Rainier. The trail then enters Wilderness and continues toward Packwood Lake.
Within a short distance of the lake, the trail leaves the wilderness and descends to the lake. The trail climbs, enters the wilderness, and proceeds to Mosquito Lake and the junction with the Three Peaks Trail #69. The trail continues to climb, passing a junction with Coyote Trail #79 before reaching Lost Lake.
The trail continues north on an open ridgeline to the junction with the Bluff Lake Trail #65 (area is unavailable) and the Clear Lost Trail #76. The Packwood Lake Trail was constructed in 1910 by the Valley Development Company which had plans for a hydroelectric project. Long before the lake was explored for its hydroelectric potential, it was used by the Taidnapam people as a fishing and camping site. The 452-acre lake is located at the headwaters of Lake Creek. It was formed when a large mass of soil and rock slid off Snyder Mountain and dammed Lake Creek 1,200 years ago.
This trail provides access to the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Views of Packwood Lake and Mt. Rainier are available from this trail.
Trail #86 begins at the Lily Basic Trailhead on Forest Road 48 and climbs a timbered, rugged ridgeline for 4 miles to the west face of Johnson Peak. From here it proceeds southwest on a relatively easy, open grade to intersect Angry Mountain Trail #90. Turning southeast it continues to Hawkeye Point where the trail becomes rough with steep snowbanks that can last late into the summer. Trail #86 intersects Goat Ridge Trail #95, then turns northeast to skirt Goat Lake and ends on Snowgrass Trail #96. Parts of this trail may have been a Native American travel route, used by mountain goat hunters.
The Lily Basin Horse Trail #86A is a short access trail from the stock user trailhead to Lily Basin.
This trail is within Goat Rocks Wilderness and accesses Glacier Lake which was formed when a landslide dammed Glacier Creek.
This trail begins on Forest Road 2110. The trail follows an old logging road for a short distance through a young forest. It then enters an ancient forest, skirts the north side of the steepwalled valley of Glacier Creek, then drops down to the creek. The trail ends at Glacier Lake, with only a rough path along the lake. Look for the large boulders strewn about as you near the lake. These boulders are part of a massive landslide that happened more than 600 years ago. The slide dammed Glacier Creek, forming the lake.
Jordan Creek Trail begins on Forest Road 2142 and climbs easterly on a forested ridge for 0.5 mile before descending to Jordan Creek. Climbing again, the trail intersects Goat Ridge Trail #95 on the open and scenic Goat Ridge above Jordan Basin. The Goat Rocks are the eroded roots of an ancient stratovolcano on the Cascade Crest.
From Forest Road 2150.040 at Berry Patch Trailhead the trail heads northeast through a conifer forest until crossing Goat Creek. It continues up switchbacks, through talus and timber, to a junction with Bypass Trail #97 (at mile 4). Snowgrass Trail #96 continues to intersect with Lily Basin Trail #86 and ends on the Pacific Crest Trail #2000. This trail is part of the Klickitat Trail system used by Native Americans traveling over Cispus Pass to the Klickitat River drainage. Snowgrass Flats is a 10-plus acre subalpine meadow in a bowl near the headwaters of Snowgrass Creek. The area was named for a type of plant that stockmen called snowgrass.
The Snowgrass Hiker Trail #96A is designed for hikers. It begins on Forest Road 2150.405, enters the Wilderness, then connects with Snowgrass Trail #96 within a short distance from Chambers Lake.
ALERT: Please be advised that the Snowgrass/Goat Lake/Old Snowy area is the most crowded area in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, in the summer months. Expect to see a hundred or more people on the trails. Parking lots at the Snowgrass Trailhead and Berry Patch Trailhead fill early even on weekdays as do places to camp along the trail.
The fragile alpine meadows in the area are being heavily impacted by human use. Please help us in preserving the Wilderness character of the Goat Rocks by observing closures listed in the Wilderness Regulations and on your Wilderness permit, and by following Leave No Trace ethics.
If you value solitude as part of your Wilderness experience, please consider trying an alternate hike. There are many scenic hikes in the area that are less crowded.
Pinchot National Forest Roads 25 and 99 provide access to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument's vast blown down forest and views of the legendary Spirit Lake. These forest roads are typically open from mid-July until snow blocks the roads.
Make sure to gain some knowledge with beautiful views at all the different Interpretive Sites (Links and locations are on the map below) along Forest Road 99:
Other great opportunities include mountain biking, hiking and/or picnicking at Smith Creek and journeying into the Mount Margaret Backcountry via the Norway Pass Trail.
Bottled water and trail mix are available at Cascade Peaks Visitor Center. Lodging, gas and other services are offered in nearby communities. Cowlitz Valley Ranger Station, East of the Monument, is open to visitors daily during the summer season.
Starting at Meta Lake Interpretive Center travel this short 0.3 mile interpretive trail and discover how life survived in the blast zone. The forest you see today survived the 1980 eruption, buried under a blanket of snow.
To protect fragile lakeshore habitat, please stay on the trail and lakeshore-viewing platform.
This trail is open to hikers, horses and bicycles.
This 8.6 mile long trail begins on Road 2612 near Ryan Lake and immediately climbs steeply for the first 2 miles (1500 foot elevation gain) to the long ridge of Goat Mountain and then heads west along its southern flank offering views of Mount St. Helens and Mt. Margaret Backcountry.
This 0.6 mile is accessed from Ryan Lake Interpretive Site. The interpretive loop climbs initially, offering views of Ryan Lake. The trail loops around the ridge, giving hikers views of the Green River Valley and Mt. Margaret Backcountry.
Interpretive signs help explain the 1980 eruption and the salvage logging operation that followed, etching its own story into the landscape. Access: Ryan Lake is 12 air-miles from Mount St. Helens, close enough to feel the full impact of the lateral blast from the 1980 eruption.
This one mile trail leaves from Harmony Falls Viewpoint and descends 700 feet to the shore of Spirit Lake. Here you can see the effects of the 1980 eruption and marvel at the recovery. Now underwater is the former location of the rustic Harmony Falls Lodge and Harmony Falls.
Hiking this trail offers the opportunity to find a changed shoreline, altered by the effects of the 1980 debris avalanche and lateral blast. When the debris avalanche slammed into the lake, a “tidal” wave surged 800 feet up the opposite shore. As the wave crashed back down it swept the already blown down trees into the lake. The resulting log mat drifts with the wind on the lake surface.
The debris avalanche created a dam at the lake outlet ultimately raising the water level. The level of Spirit Lake is now controlled by the 1.7-mile man-made tunnel that drains into South Coldwater Creek.
This trail offers excellent views of Spirit Lake, Mount St. Helens, the crater, and lava dome this trail continues north and ends at its junction with Boundary Trail #1 (area is unavailable) at Norway Pass. Sections of the Independence Pass Trail # 227 may not be suitable for people who are uncomfortable with heights.
The trail climbs for 0.25 mile to Independence Pass and then continues north, contouring steep pumice slopes providing a bird’s eye view of Spirit Lake. One mile from the trailhead is the junction with Boundary Trail #1 (area is unavailable) at Norway Pass, 3.5 miles from the trailhead.
To extend your walk, hike the Independence loop. From Norway Pass, travel east on Boundary Trail #1 for 1.3 miles to the junction with Independence Ridge Trail #227A. Continue south on the Independence Ridge Trail, gaining the southeast shoulder of the ridge. In 1.3 miles you will reach the junction with the Independence Pass Trail #227. The round trip is 7 miles from Independence Pass Trailhead.
Forest Road 83 passes through lava flows and mudflows from earlier eruptions and provides access to Climber's Bivouac, Ape Cave, and Lava Canyon. State Highway 503 is open year round, while Forest Roads 83, 81, and 90 are usually open from Memorial Day until snow blocks the roads. Guided lantern walks are conducted daily at Ape Cave from June through beginning of September. Food, lodging, gas, and other services are available in nearby communities.
Roving Rangers will be roving Lahar View Point and Lava Canyon this summer to provide interpretive talks on the geology of the area. Pine Creek Information Station is operated in the summer near the junction of Forest Roads 90 and 25. There are bathrooms with running water, souvenirs, and friendly staff from Discover Your Northwest.
Ape Cave sits among a mixed-species forest stand. A short, paved trail leads from the newly remodeled and accessible parking lot with visitor center and facilities to the caves lower entrance and interpretive area. The trail continues on to the upper entrance, though it becomes more steep and rough.
Accessible Adventures Video
Ape Cave Information
The Third Longest lava tube (13,042’ long) in North America
Offering picnicking opportunities on the shores of June Lake, this trail is a good choice for families and beginning hikers. June Lake was formed by a 2,000-year-old lava flow blocking a tributary of Swift Creek. The lake is located along the base of a basalt cliff over which a waterfall pours, replenishing the lake’s cold, clear water.
Start by gently climbing through a young forest, following the rushing sounds of a tributary of Swift Creek that flows from June Lake. The lake is soon reached providing a great place to picnic. Continuing, the trail climbs steeply for 0.25 mile to its junction with Loowit Trail #216. June Lake Trail #216B is the shortest access to Loowit Trail #216.
The Smith Creek Trail offers a chance to observe the immense impact of the 1980 eruption. This section is part of the popular Ape Canyon /Smith Creek Mountain Bike Loop.
The trail quickly drops from the trailhead at Forest Road 99 into the Smith Creek valley. Two waterfalls are located near the foot of the steep-descent. Following the valley bottom, the trail crosses Ape Canyon Creek and then Muddy River. Here the trail intersects Lava Canyon Trail #184. Continue downstream for 1 mile to the Lower Smith Creek Trailhead at Forest Road 8322.
Special Conditions: Loose pumice surface, especially at the northern end of the trail.
Beginning next to the mudflow that traveled down the Muddy River drainage, the trail climbs steadily through a plantation of young trees before entering groves of giant Douglas fir, silver and noble fir. The trail then emerges on an open ridge top with views east into Ape Canyon and in the distance, Mount Adams. Wildflowers, when in bloom, paint these meadows in vibrant colors. Continuing along the ridge, the trail passes through patches of 1980 standing dead forest before emerging at the top of Ape Canyon, where it terminates at the junction with Loowit Trail #216.
One of the main roads into Mount St. Helens, Route 504 provides spectacular views of the landscape, including the crater, blast zone, and Toutle River Valley. At the end of the road is Johnston Ridge Observatory, a popular visitor center that is open daily mid-May through October offering ranger talks, interactive exhibits, and award-winning films. Seven miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory is the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater, where groups participate in educational programming and visitors may get information on winter weekends.
As you drive up 504, consider stopping at one of the highway viewpoints: Elk Rock Viewpoint, Castle Lake Viewpoint, and Loowit Viewpoint. These pull-outs offer benches, trails, gorgeous views, and are open most of the year.
Route 504 also provides visitors with access to a number of trails, such as the Hummocks Trail where you walk alongside pieces of the mountain, or begin your backpacking trip to spot elk and mountain goats in the majestic Mount Margaret Backcountry. A pleasant summer stop is at Coldwater Lake, with its accessible boardwalk stroll, picnic area, and boat launch. Route 504 to Coldwater Lake is open through the winter. In summer, food service is available at Johnston Ridge Observatory while many options for food, lodging, and gas can be found along 504 west of Mount St. Helens.
Coldwater Lake Recreation Area is located 45 miles east of Castle Rock in the heart of the blast zone near the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater and Johnston Ridge Observatory. Experience the effect the May 18, 1980 eruption had on the Coldwater Valley, including creating a brand new lake. Kayaking is popular here. Combustion engines are prohibited on the lake, but anglers reach trophy trout by electric motors, rowing, or kicking. Fishing is open year-round with a one-fish limit greater than 16 inches. Artificial, single, barbless hooks are required.
This 3.1 mile trail travels from State Route 504 on the south side of Coldwater lake to meet Boundary Trail #1 (area is unavailable) 2.3 miles from South Coldwater Trail 230A junction.
Logging operations were active on South Coldwater Ridge during the spring of 1980. Several pieces of heavy logging equipment were at logging sites on May 18th and were destroyed by the blast. About 1 mile from the trailhead, you will see a bulldozer and mangled yarding tower. Blasted logs and toppled trees attest to the lateral blast’s speed and force. The trail steadily climbs to its junction with Coldwater Trail #230 offering views of Mount St. Helens, Coldwater Peak, and Coldwater Lake.
This exciting trail circles Mount St. Helens, allowing you to experience the entire range of effects the 1980 eruption had on the mountain and the surrounding area. Loowit Trail #216 is a challenging hike across rough terrain. The entire route is 30 miles in length and each segment varies in its difficulty rating.
The trail is not crossed by a single road and can be accessed by "feeder" trails usually identified by the number #216 and a letter of the alphabet. Ape Canyon Trail #234, Sheep Canyon Trail #240, and Truman Trail #207 also access the Loowit Trail #216 and allow day hikers the opportunity to hike sections of the trail.
Mt. Adams is a prominent landmark in the area. Elevations here range between 1200 feet at the Wind River Work Center, 12 miles north of Carson, WA., and 12,276 feet at the summit of Mt. Adams. Precipitation varies from 70.7 inches of rain and 65.1 inches of snow at the Wind River Work Center and 44.1 inches of rain and 95.7 inches of snow at the Mt. Adams Ranger District office in Trout Lake, WA. The area features a great diversity of habitats and features, from old growth to second growth forest, wetland areas, low and high elevation meadows, glaciers, and low and high elevation lakes.
Peterson Prairie Campground is an attractive campground with level, well shaded graveled sites. This site is located near large huckleberry fields making the campground very popular during huckleberry season. It has easy access on a paved road. The popular tourist spots, Natural Bridges and Ice Caves are nearby. There is drinking water and in season a host in the campground.
The Dark Divide Roadless Area provides great opportunities for extended trips along rock studded ridges and cirques carved by long extinct glaciers. Several trails provide scenic access to Boundary Trail #1 through mixed conifer and old-growth forests.
The historic Boundary Trail was important in the early history of the Forest Service. Well established by 1911, the trail served as the principal route for rangers on horseback patrols on the boundary between the Rainier and Columbia Forest Reserves. It is now a National Recreation Trail, offering a backpacking opportunity or shorter hikes to rocky peaks and sub alpine meadows, all with outstanding views.
The Lewis River Valley will delight anyone who comes looking for spectacular waterfalls surrounded by old-growth forest. Trails, ranging from easiest to most difficult, provide paths of discovery through this appealing landscape. Easy accessible trails allow close approach to Curly Creek, Miller Creek and Lower Lewis River Falls. Other waterfalls are viewed from the Lewis River Trail, which follows the Lewis River for over 15 miles.
Filloon Trail provides access to Indian Heaven Wilderness from Little Goose Horse Camp. It connects to Lemei Trail #34. Much of the trail is in heavy second-growth forests.
One of the features of this connector trail is the huckleberries in late summer. You may pick berries for personal use within the Wilderness. Please note that removing huckleberries from designated Wilderness is prohibited.
This popular 1.5 mile trail begins at Cultus Creek Campground/Trailhead and enters Indian Heaven Wilderness. It climbs steep semi-open slopes toward the summit of Bird Mountain, a 1.5-mile-long backbone ridge. The trail climbs 1,200 feet in elevation before passing through a saddle at 5,237 elevation where you will be rewarded with views of the west slope of Mt. Adams. Beyond the saddle, the trail enters large timber and eventually connects with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000.
Trail features include abundant huckleberries in season and views of Mt. Rainier, the Goat Rocks, Sawtooth Mountain, and Sleeping Beauty. This trail is part of a 7 mile loop that passes 4 attractive lakes and connection to other trails in the Wilderness.
This trail climbs through open pine forests and across rocky slopes along the Aiken Lava Bed and through the remains of the 2008 burn. It meets Pineway Trail #71, then continues another 2.75 miles to the junction with Round the Mountain Trail in high mountain meadows.
Along this lightly used trails are the A.G. Aiken Lava Bed and meadows. The A.G. Aiken Lava Bed is 4-miles long and approximately one-half mile wide. The lava bed was formed by an eruption of Mt. Adams approximately 4,000 years ago.
The historic Gotchen Guard Station is located on Spur Road 160 in the vicinity of the trailhead.
This 3.3 mile heavily used trail passes numerous lakes prior to its connection with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 within Indian Heaven Wilderness.
From the Thomas Lake Trailhead, beginning along Road 65, this trail climbs gently as it passes through a dense forest, coming to Dee, Thomas, and Heather Lakes at approximately 0.6 mile. The trail climbs to a meadow, then continues past Brader Lake and Naha Lake to Rock Lake and Little Rock Lake. It then turns south and passes Lake Umtux.
As the trail continues through the broad plateau meadow, it passes numerous unnamed ponds and tiny lakes. The trail descends into the timber, passing Lake Sahalee Tyee, and ends at Blue Lake with the junction of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000.
Lake Sahalee Tyee lies in the shallow crater of an old volcano. This is an area where Native Americans built slow-burning fires in trenches, preserving berries for later use by drying them over the radiant heat.
From the trailhead Divide Camp Trail heads southeast up the side of Mt. Adams, crossing into Mt. Adams Wilderness at 0.2 of a mile. The trail runs though forests and across attractive mountain meadows with seasonal wildflowers, and views of the mountain. About 2 miles up the trail a short side trail leads to Divide Camp. The trail ends on the Pacific Crest Trail #2000 at about 6000 feet.
The 3.1 miles Killen Creek Trail climbs through forested areas and open meadows within Mt. Adams Wilderness. It offers spectacular views of Mt. Adams and wildflowers in season. A historic old cabin built by sheepherders who used the area for summer pasture is visible about 2 miles from trailhead. The trail ends on the Pacific Crest Trail #2000 at about 6000 feet near the intersection with High Camp Trail #10.
This 4.1 mile trail follows a long ridge through timber, meadows and the burned area from the Cascade Creek Fire. It offering views of Avalanche and White Salmon Glaciers, and ends at the junction with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. It touches Cascade Creek at a nice waterside spot for a picnic.
The trail leaves the trailhead from a clear-cut at 4,193 feet elevation, then climbs northeast, enters Mt. Adams Wilderness, and continues through heavy timber and rocky slopes. The trail ends at the junction with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 on top of the ridge at 5,800' elevation. The scar from a massive debris avalanche can be seen from this trail. The avalanche occurred in 1920 and again in August 1997. It originated in the Avalanche Glacier cirque, at approximately 12,000' elevation.
The Muddy Meadows trail leads into the Mount Adams Wilderness. Running through forested areas and crossing meadows it connects with the Pacific Crest Trail and ends at the High Line Trail. From the trailhead and along the trail there are spectacular views of Mt. Adams.
The trail begins at Muddy Meadows Trailhead where you can get spectacular views of Mt. Adams. The trail enters Mount Adams Wilderness and proceeds through timber and small meadows east to the intersection with Pacific Crest Trail #2000 at 2.7 miles. Muddy Meadows Trail continues, ending at High Line Trail #114. This meadow area was used by Native Americans as a summer berry camp. In the 1800s, many berry camps were located on the north and northwest sides of Mt. Adams. Evidence of berry-drying trenches can still be found in the area.
*Please limit early-season horse use because of wet conditions.
From the first access point on below the first switchback on Forest Road 5701, the trail parallels the road and passes the ruins of Hickman's Cabin. This moss-covered shelter, built in the 1930s, served as a base camp for fire prevention workers. Continuing, the trail intersects Huffman Peak Trail #129, 0.8 mile from the trailhead. Three creeks are crossed before the trail comes to the second access point, near the end of Forest Road 5701 and the second access point to Siouxon Trail. From here the trail drops steeply to West Creek, where a log bridge spans the stream. Following Siouxon Creek to Horseshoe Creek, you can view Horseshoe Falls from the bridge or take the short 0.1 mile spur trail to get a view of the falls from below. The main trail then follows Siouxon Creek upstream for 1 mile, offering views of five major waterfalls and their plunge-pools. After intersecting Horseshoe Ridge Trail #140, the trail continues to the confluence of Siouxon and Wildcat Creeks. Here Wildcat Creek Trail #156 heads north towards Siouxon Peak. A short distance from the junction, the trail intersects Chinook Creek Trail #130A. The trail then gains 1900 ft. in elevation in the final 3 miles before ending on Forest Road 58.
This 5.5 mile trail accesses the southwest corner of Trapper Creek Wilderness. Soda Peaks Lake, a glacial -carved cirque, is surrounded by conifers in a mountainous setting. The trail passes through forest and across loose rock to reach a saddle from which it switchbacks down to the lake. The trail then decesends steeply to join the Trapper Creek Trail near the southeast Wilderness boundary.
The trail begins at Soda Peaks Trailhead and climbs east into Trapper Creek Wilderness to a saddle. From the saddle, the trail switchbacks down to Soda Peaks Lake, which is in a glacial-carved cirque. The trail skirts the lake to the north and traverses the southern portion of the wilderness before fording Trapper Creek and intersecting with Trapper Creek Trail #192.
This steep trail follow a ridge through rolling hills with oak trees providing shade and grassy meadows with excellent views of the River, the Big Lava Big and surrounding mountains. Cold springs, located about 5 miles from the trailhead, provides a good cooling-off spot on this otherwise dry hike. The trail ends on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 below Big Huckleberry Mountain. Grassy Knoll was the site of a fire lookout in the 1930's. In season a large number of species of plants provide a spectacular wildflower display.
The 3.2 mile Big Hollow Trail begins on Forest Road 64 at Big Hollow Trailhead and climbs steadily to its terminus on Observation Trail #132 at the Trapper Creek Wilderness boundary. At 0.5 miles from the trailhead, it fords the swift Big Hollow Creek which can be two feet deep at the ford. Just past the ford it connects with Dry Creek Trail #194 which runs south. A second ford across a fork of Big Hollow Creek is located about 2.2 miles From Trailhead.
This heavily used trail is located in the southwestern part of Indian Heaven Wilderness. The trail travels through second growth forest, rocky terrain , a meadow and ends near Red Mountain fire lookout. The meadow was the site of annual gatherings of Native Americans during huckleberry season. There is still evidence of the track they used for pony racing in the meadow.
Beginning at Falls Creek Horse Camp, the trail travels southeastward through second-growth forests and crosses Falls Creek with a natural crossing. The trail enters Indian Heaven Wilderness, then climbs through rocky terrain for one mile to a meadow where the grade flattens. This area is called Indian Race Track. At this point, Trail #171A leaves Trail #171 and heads east for 0.5 mile before connecting with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000. Indian Race Track Trail #171 then climbs from Indian Race Track to Road 6048 near the summit of Red Mountain. A fire lookout is located on the summit of Red Mountain. The original lookout was built in 1910. It was replaced over the years by two other lookouts. The Red Mountain Lookout is one of three active lookouts remaining on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest today!
Indian Race Track was, historically, an annual gathering place for Native Americans during the berry season until the early 1900s. From eyewitness reports, we know that thousands of people from the Yakama, Klickitat, and Columbia River tribes would gather here each year. Not only was this a good huckleberry site but it was located along a historic cross-Cascades route that was used for trade. The track was used for pony races and is about 10-feet-wide and more than 2,000 feet long. It can still be seen today in a large meadow near the base of Red Mountain, about one-half mile from the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000.
This heavily used trail provides access to the South Climb route up to Mt. Adams summit within Mt. Adams Wilderness.
Initially the trail follows an old road bed through forest and meadows. Near timberline it intersects with Round the Mountain Trail #9 which heads north to meet the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail continues to climb then crosses the Morrison Creek drainage through scree. This section of the trail is marked by tall poles mounted in rock carins. It continues goes up the ridge running along Cresent Glacier and follows this ridge to the snow field where the marked trail ends at about 3.4 miles.
From this point mountain climbers continue up the snow field to lunch counter, Pikers Peak and the summit. This is not a technically challenging climb, but it takes climbers at least 6 to 8 hours to ascend the nearly 6,700 vertical feet across snow and rock to reach the 12,276 summit of Mt. Adams. The entire trip is about 12 miles round-trip. Be prepared and know your limits.
On the trail there are views of the surrounding area including Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. Wildflowers bloom in the meadows and vegetated areas above tree line in season.
This Trail Open to Hikers, Bikers, Equestrian and Motorized Use.
This six mile trail is located west of Trout Lake, WA and northeast of Indian Heaven Wilderness. This trail offers small meadows and lakes, and access to berry fields. Connects to Service Trail #35, the only other motorized trail in the Mount Adams Ranger District.
Trail #26 leaves Forest Road 24 at the lower trailhead near Little Goose Campground. It travels through small second-growth timber over rolling grades. The trail crosses Road 8800-091 and Road 8800-100. The trail crosses several streams and passes a small lake before entering the berry fields. The trail ends on Road 24 near the Surprise Lakes at the upper trailhead. This was the main Native American access route to the berry fields prior to roads being built in the early 1940s. Today the trail is heavily used by motorized trail users. There are challenging hill climbs and creek crossings.
The trail is heavily used by motorized trail users. Use caution on or around motorized vehicles.
As you ascend Spencer Butte Trail (3.2 miles one way) from the south the forest changes from western white pine to noble and subalpine fir. Breezy Point Trail #30A is soon reached where it provides a 0.8-mile trail to the location of an old fire lookout. The base for a fire finder can still be seen at this location. On top of Spencer Butte, the skyline is dominated by a commanding view of Mount St. Helens. The remains of a Forest Service fire lookout built in 1935 are found on the summit. Wildflowers provide a colorful display in the summer months on the top of the butte. Descending to the north, the trail travels through a Douglas fir forest before ending near Spencer Meadow, a place often visited by elk.
Note: 2/22/16 Closed to stock use until bridges have been repaired.
Popular with mountain bikers and hikers the 15 mile Lewis River Trail #31 remains within sight or sound of the Lewis River as you ride or hike through this valley laced with abundant side streams, springs, and waterfalls. The trail follows a gentle uphill grade through a magnificent Douglas fir, western red cedar and big leaf maple old-growth forest.
This trail provides easy access to viewpoints of Curly Creek and Miller Creek Falls. This is a an accessible trail.
From the parking lot, follow the trail west and you will soon come to Curly Creek Falls where a waterfall plummets from beneath two rock arches. This may be one of the most unusual waterfalls in the Northwest. At low water, a third rock arch can be seen in the bed of Curly Creek. Continuing westward, the trail soon leads to the Miller Creek Falls viewpoint where a waterfall plunges over a moss and fern-laden cliff into the Lewis River.
This trail provides a loop down to the Lewis River where it churns over Middle Falls. The trail soon encounters Upper Copper Creek Falls. A bridge crosses the creek just above the waterfall, presenting a spectacular view as the water falls away from you and over the cliff.
Lewis River Trail #31 is reached about 0.3 mile from the trailhead. Continuing down, you soon come to Middle Falls. The trail then heads down the Lewis River crossing Copper Creek for a second time. You will then cross a bridge above Lower Copper Creek Falls. Continuing up is the Middle Falls Trail loop which will lead you back to the parking lot.
This one mile primitive trail is a steep descent through an old-growth forest to reach the Lewis River. It provides quick access to the river and, by wading the river, a connection with Lewis River Trail #31. The ford is only possible in the late summer when water levels are low.
This Trail Open to Hikers, Bikers, Equestrian and OHV Use.
This trail begins on Road 8821 and follows a decommissioned road for 1 mile through open stands of spruce to Deadhorse Meadow. The trail crosses Road 8831, then continues across Smoky and Little Goose Creeks before ending on Middle Trail #26.
This and a number of other trails in the area were developed by sheepherders in the late 1800s. Sheepherders traveled from as far as eastern Oregon to graze their sheep on these summer ranges. The sheepherders often followed Native American trails. Portions of the Service Trail follow the original wagon route into the forest built in the early 1900s.
This 3 mile trail is located in the area just south of Mt. Adams Wilderness. Trail #40 begins in the south near a livestock corral on Road 8020. The trail heads north and passes through selectively harvested forests, intersects with Cold Spings Trail #72 and Morrison Creek Trail #39 and crosses Hole-in-the-Ground Creek. It then climbs McDonald Ridge where it ends on Road 8040.
The trail and creek are named after the Gotchen family - sheepherders from eastern Oregon who traveled here each summer to graze their flocks.
Features: Forested path, Hole-in-the-Ground Creek, and old stock drive.
This moderately used trail is one of the main access routes from the east into the central part of Indian Heaven Wilderness. Trail features include small lakes, ponds, marshes, meadows, wildflowers, and Junction Lake.
From East Crater Trailhead on Forest Road 6035, the trail climbs gradually through a thick mountain hemlock forest, past a series of small meadows, shallow lakes, and ponds. The trail continues into alpine forests of noble and true fir before reaching the shore of Junction Lake, where it ends at the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 near the junction with Lemei Lake Trail #179. Junction Lake sites at an elevation of 4,730 feet.
This Trail Open to Hikers, Bikers and Equestrian Use.
This trail climbs a long, forested ridge on the north side of Little Huckleberry Mountain. The steep grade continues for 1 mile and at approximately 4,000 feet elevation the trail enters an area with steep side slopes. The trail eventually breaks from the trees into berry fields and rock gardens, then climbs to the summit of Little Huckleberry Mountain, the former site of a fire lookout. Perched at 4,781 feet elevation, the site offers views of Mounts Hood and Adams.
You can pick out 9-mile-long Big Lava Bed to the west by the gray-green color of the forest that grows on top of it, forming a contrast with the deeper green of the adjacent forests. Goose Lake and South Prairie can be seen in the foreground. The original fire lookout was built in 1924. It was replaced by a new building in the 1930s. The lookout was destroyed in 1970.
This Trail Open to Hikers, Bikers, and Equestrian Use.
This 6.8 mile trail crosses several roads before it begins the climb onto the ridge overlooking Holmes Creek and the White Salmon drainage. Big trees, wildflowers, and nice views are features of this trail. This trail can also be reached via Monte Cristo Trail #53.
The south end of this trail begins off Forest Road 18 and climbs moderate to steep grades through second-growth and old-growth forests, interspersed with some harvest units. The trail crosses several roads before it begins the climb onto the ridge overlooking Holmes Creek and the White Salmon drainage. For the next 2-3 miles, the trail moves in and out of state land, passes by some old-growth Douglas fir, and goes through several old burned areas before it breaks out onto Monte Carlo Ridge. From here you can get excellent views of the Little Salmon drainage and surrounding peaks. The trail ends on Road 1840-100.
This Trail Open to Hikers, Bikers and Equestrian Use.
This 4.1 mile trail follows a sparsely forested ridge to Monte Cristo Mountain and offers great views of the Little White Salmon drainage. Here you can find evidence of an old fire lookout that was built in the 1930s.
Beginning from the upper trailhead on Forest Road 8600-080, the trail heads east and then south along a sparsely forested ridge to Monte Cristo Mountain. The trail drops down to meet Mont Carlo Trail #52 on Road 1840-100, then continues descending to the end of the trail on Road 1800-230.
This Trail Open to Hikers, Bikers and Equestrian Use.
This trail is a moderately low elevation trail that parallels the White Salmon River. The trail stays high above the river gorge with occasional viewpoints from the top. A popular trail for horseback riders out of Mt Adams Horse Camp.
Most of the area is rocky and heavily forested. The trail has rolling grades and three stream crossings. This trail accesses Morrison Creek Trail #39 which accesses Mt Adams Wilderness. Nice views of the White Salmon River and bridges are available along the trail.
This trail is an accessible interpretive trail that tells the story of forest management from a historical perspective. The trail surface is crushed compacted gravel, 48 inches wide with turnouts and resting benches. It access a march viewing platform where various bird species can be heard and seen.
This Trail Open to Hikers, Bikers and Equestrian Use.
Located in the eastern part of the Mt. Adams Ranger District, this trail is adjacent to the Yakama Indian Reservation. Cattle are ranged in the area and the first 0.5 mile of the trail is often used as a stock driveway. The second half of the trail, heading due west, is a cow trail through rocky terrain. It connects with Snipes Mountain Trail #11 near the A.G. Aiken lava flow. The entire length of the trail goes through the Cold Springs Fire of 2008.
This trail follows the contours of the lower slopes of Mt. Adams within Mt. Adams Wilderness. Most of the trail is in timber and offers opportunities to view wildflowers and scenery. Crofton Butte trail #73 in the Mt. Adams Wilderness was near the starting point of the 2012 Cascade creek fire. Some areas of this trail exhibit the extreme fire behavior with many snags. With the lack of foliage there are great opportunities to view Mt. Adams and surrounding area.
From the east trailhead on Forest Road 8031.050, the trail enters Mt Adams Wilderness after approximately 0.5 mile. There is a natural opening at Crofton Butte, which offers excellent views of the surrounding area. The trail crosses Croften Creek and then leaves the Wilderness and crosses Shorthorn Creek. The trail ends on Forest Road 8040 at the eastern trailhead just south of Morrison Creek Campground.
Salt Creek Trail enters Mt Adams Wilderness to offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Beginning from Salt Creek Trailhead on Forest Road 8031, this lightly used trail follows Road 060 (closed to vehicle travel) for 1 mile, then enters the Mt. Adams Wilderness.
The trail travels through large open timber following the Salt Creek drainage, passing several beaver ponds and meadows. As you hike a long the trail near the beaver pond expect to see elk, deer, beaver, and eagles. The trail is maintained for 3 miles, ending near the confluence of Cascade and Salt Creeks.
People of all ages can enjoy the easy hike and scenic beauty of Langfield Falls. Located in the northeast portion of the Ranger District, Trail #8 is a special interest trail, built as a memorial to an old-time District Ranger, K.C. Langfield. In the summer there is an interpretive sign in commemoration to K.C. Langfield.
This is a multi-use trail. Popular with OHV users and Mountain Bikers.
The trail climbs out of the Lewis River Valley through a mature forest and intersects with Cussed Hollow Trail #19 about a mile from the trailhead. Continue on and cross the headwater of Copper Creek is via a bridge with a campsite nearby. A short distance upslope, the trail passes into a young tree plantation. You will pass through another plantation before crossing Forest Road 93.
Cross Forest Road 93 and travel one mile to the intersection of Forest Road 9327- 040 and Forest Road 9327. This is also the beginning of Craggy Peak Trail #3. Further along the trail travels along Wright Meadow where elk can often be seen grazing.
The trail crosses Forest Road 9327 again before starting its descent to Clear Creek. A ford allows you to cross Clear Creek before ascending to a bench. The trail then drops to Elk Creek before climbing to Forest Road 2259-101.
This 5 mile trail gradually ascends to an old roadbed, passing just west of Silver Star Mountain.
From the Silver Star Trailhead the trail heads south. After passing through wildflower covered slopes and huckleberry thickets, the trail intersects Ed's Trail #180A. Chinook Trail #180B, Sturgeon Rock Trail #180C, and Bluff Mountain Trail #172 all are reached in less than 2 miles from the trailhead. Just beyond the Bluff Mountain Trail, Silver Star Summit Trail #180D leads 0.25 mile to the summit of Silver Star Mountain.
One of our nation's greatest treasures is the National Wilderness Preservation System established by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Wildernesses are lands designated by Congress to be protected and preserved in their natural condition, without permanent improvements or habitation.
Mt. Adams Wilderness is an ecologically complex Wilderness of 47,078 acres along the west slope of Mt. Adams. The 12,326-foot high Mt. Adams is the second highest peak in the Northwest after Mt. Rainier. Mt. Adams Wilderness is bounded on the east by the Yakima Indian Reservation.
A blend of dry eastside and moist west side weather conditions allow diverse types of vegetation to flourish. The mountain maintains active glaciers and traces of lahars and avalanches that altered the landscape. Volcanic activity in the area is fairly recent and some eruptions occurred just 3,500 years ago. Multiple trails provide access to spectacular views of Mt. Adams and its glaciers, mountain streams, open alpine forests and wildflowers scattered among lava flows and rimrocks.
Mt. Adams is also a popular attraction for mountain climbers. Many routes exist up Mount Adams with the South Climb route the most popular. While these routes provide a wide range of difficulty, all mountain climbing is a potentially dangerous activity. Review Mt. Adams Summit page for information about climbing Mt. Adams.