Special Places

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest offers many special places for all kinds of forest visitors. Whether you seek solitude, social activity, creative inspiration, wildlife or scenic beauty, you can find it in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Mount St Helens AreaThe Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument at Gifford Pinchot National Forest offers an exciting array of activities for people of all abilities. You can experience this dynnamic and changing landscape from one of many viewpoints or explore 200 miles of trails ranging from barrier-free paved walkways to more difficult day hikes and overnight backpacking trips.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest Wildernesses

Goat Rocks Wilderness in the Cowlitz Valley VicinityThe Wilderness Act established an enduring resource of wilderness -- lands that are affected primarily by the forces of nature, where man is a visitor who does not remain.

Congress allows certain uses to continue within individual wildernesses, under special conditions. Some of these uses are found in the 180,600 acres of wilderness on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Along with horseback riding, hiking or climbing, people may hunt, fish or trap. A small number of outfitting and guiding services operate under special use permits.

Highlighted Areas

Pacific Crest Trail #2000

The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 is 2750 miles long and you can hike 26 of those miles in the designated Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Cascade Locks is the largest city and lowest elevation along the entire route. 

The Pacific Crest Trail within Gifford Pinchot National Forest begins in the Columbia Gorge and runs north to enter Gifford Pinchot National Forest just south of Wind River Experimental Forest and continues north through Indian Heaven Wilderness, Mt Adams Wilderness, and Goat Rocks Wilderness and then into William O. Douglas Wilderness and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest Pacific Crest Trail segments:

More information:

Trail #247A Oldgrowth Loop

This accessible trail is open to hiker use only.

This loop trail takes off from Woods Creek Trail #247.  It is more difficult than the main loop. This destination offers secluded and shaded hiking. Expect a quiet setting with easy and quiet hiking.

The trail is a mix of native surfacing and compacted gravel. Grades increase to short sections of up to 20 percent. This loop takes hikers into an oldgrowth Douglas fir forest. From here, the trail drops back down into a mixed hardwood conifer forest, where it loops back to the beaver pond and ties back in with Trail #247.

This site is the premier wildlife viewing destination on the north end of the forest. There are interpretive signs detailing the animals and other things possibly seen along the trail. You may see beaver, elk, and lots of small mammals. Birds are plentiful.

Boating Site: Goose Lake

Concrete boat ramp with a 10 vehicle parking lot.

Fishing for stocked trout including rainbows and browns can be fair to excellent. Small brook trout and native cutthroat are also present. Try olive wooley-buggers, damsel imitations or spinners and spoons. Goose Lake falls under general zone regulations.

Trail #174 Sunset Falls

This short accessible trail leads you from the Sunset Falls parking lot at Sunset Falls Campground and Day Use area to Sunset Falls Viewpoint. The falls are accessible year-round and make a popular place to cool off on hot summer days. No fishing is allowed.

Campground: Oklahoma

Oklahoma Campground is located on the Little White Salmon River. The campground is fairly flat, partly wooded with some open meadow. The large sites make it it a favorite of smaller groups who don't quite need a full group campground. Fishing is available on Little White Salmon River adjacent to the campground. Hiking is available from the campground on the Monte Carlo Trail #52.

Drinking water is available, and a host is present, during the season.  

Campground: Adams Fork

This wooded area along the Adams Fork of the Cispus River makes a great campground location. The campground contains historic basket trees used by the Upper Cowlitz Tribe and has interpretive signage. The campground is located near the Off Highway Vehicle trails of Blue Lake Ridge and the Valley Trail and is frequented by motorized users  

Trailhead: Stagman Ridge

Provides access to: Stagman Ridge Trail #12 which enters Mt. Adams Wilderness.

Gravel parking area with space for 10 vehicles.

Road can be narrow.

Sno-Park: Flattop

The Snow Park provides assess to 154 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and is used primarily by snowmobilers. The trails lead to remote forest and scenic high elevations lakes. There is a good view of Mt. Adams from the Snow Park.  It has a warming shelter with wood stove and picnic tables. The parking area accommodates 70 vehicles.

In a mature and varied forest setting with mountain meadows and geographic features, this site is near the Mt. Adams Wilderness. Visitors will find access to trails leading to remote forest lakes, high-mountain elevations. 

Trail #152 Falls Creek

This Trail Open to Hikers, Bikers and Equestrian Use.

The gradual grade of this 9 mile trail slowly climbs away from Falls Creek and crosses 2 creeks before reaching the waterfall in approximately 2.5 miles. Falls Creek surges over rocks and timber cascading from a height of 100 feet, creating a gentle mist below. Approximately 3 miles from the trailhead a large clear pool about 50 feet wide and 10 feet deep, provides a lovely picnic spot. Elk, beaver and otter await the forest visitor.

The trail continues on for 6.5 miles, crossing several forest roads, and terminates at Falls Creek Horse Camp on Forest Road 65. 

This is a popular mountain biking trail.

Mt. Adams Summit

Mt. Adams, with its summit of 12,276 feet elevation, is the second highest peak in Washington State and the third highest peak in the Cascades Range. There are several climbing routes on the mountain, ranging from the "non-technical" South Climb, to highly technical routes that require advance skill, experience, and special equipment. Because of the high elevation, all climbs have a measure of difficulty and danger.

Weather on Mt. Adams can change rapidly. Sudden snowstorms can occur above 6,000 feet elevation at any month of the year. What appears to be a non-technical route can change drastically during these storms. Your safety will be the result of your preparation and good judgment. Climbers should always prepare for bad weather and an extended stay on the mountain.

All climbers need to be prepared to deal with a wide variety of weather, snow, and rock conditions. Detailed information on climbing routes is available from a number of climbing guidebooks. Consult these as you plan your trips. In addition to the ten essentials for outdoor recreation (map and compass, whistle, flashlight, extra food and water, warm clothing, a first-aid kit, sun glasses and sunscreen, waterproof matches, a candle or fire starter, and a pocket knife), equipment should include sturdy hiking boots, ice ax, crampons, and ropes when travelling on glaciers. Be prepared and know your limits.

Mt. Adams climbing routes and summit are within Mt. Adams Wilderness and is protected and managed to preserve its natural condition. It is to provide opportunities for solitude as well as primitive and unconfined types of recreation. Your actions will help all of us care for this unique area.