Mt. St. Helens South Side: Forest Roads 83 & 81

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

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.

Accessible Adventures Video

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 10/20/2016: Both roads open.
Permit Info: Climbing Permits are required year-round above 4,800 ft. on the slopes of Mount St. Helens.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Best Season: Summer - Fall
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: Climbing Permits are by advance reservation only April 1st thru October 31st. A climbing quota is in effect of 100 climbers per day May 15th thru October 31st.
Closest Towns: Cougar, WA
Water: No
Restroom: Ape Cave,Lava Canyon and Climbers Bivouac
Passes: A valid Recreation Pass is required at various locations on the southside.
Information Center: Mount St. Helens Visitor Centers 

Recreation Map

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