Trail #183 South Climb


General trail map of the Mt Adams Wilderness area.

Vicinity trail map of the Mt Adams Wilderness including: Round the Mountain #9, Looking Glass Lake #9A, High Camp #10, Stagman Ridge #12, Muddy Meadows #13, Shorthorn #16, Divide Camp #112, Killen Creek Trail #113, High Line trail #114, and South Climb #183.

Area Status: Not Cleared

This Trail Open to Hiker and Equestrian Use.

This heavily used trail provides access to the South Climb of Mt. Adams in the Mt. Adams Wilderness. Initially the trail follows an old road bed through forest and meadows to the timber line. Then it crosses the Morrison Creek drainage through scree. This section of the trail is marked by tall poles mounted in rock carins. The trail goes up the ridge running along Cresent Glacier and follows this ridge to the snow field where the marked trail ends. From this point mountain climbers continue up the snow field to lunch counter, Pikers Peak and the summitt. 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. 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. 

See: Mt Adams Climbing Information.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 02/19/2015: Trail is snow covered.
Permit Info: Self-issue Wilderness Permit required. Permits available at the trailhead.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Wilderness Regulations Apply
Closest Towns: Trout Lake, WA
Passes: Northwest Forest Pass Required if accessed via Cold Springs Campground. Northwest Forest Pass parking voucher included with purchase of Cascade Volcano Pass. Cascade Volcano Pass required to hike or climb above 7000 feet. Cascade Volcano Passes are not available at the South Climb Trailhead.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Mt. Adams Ranger District See also: South Climb Trailhead #183 See also: Mt. Adams Wilderness Area

General Information


From Trout Lake, Washington, drive down the hill on Highway 141 for one mile to the V in the road at the gas station. At this intersection make a sharp left hand turn on to Mt Adams Highway. Drive north on this road to the V intersection with Forest Road 23. At this intersection stay to the right on FH 17 and continue about one mile to the left turn on to Forest Road 80 , signed South Climb. Stay on Forest Road 80 to where it ends at the intersection with Forest Road 8040 and 8031. Make a right turn on to Forest Road 8040 and continue driving north past Morrison Creek Campground to the trail head located in the old cold spring camp area.



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Mountain Climbing

From the trailhead, the trail follows an old road for 2 miles to the timberline, where it enters the wilderness, crosses Round the Mountain Trail, and continues toward the summit of Mt. Adams (approximately 5.7 miles from Cold Springs). The trail is maintained to the 8,000-foot level on Crescent Ridge, then an unmaintained trail continues to Lunch Counter. A footpath accesses the false summit, Pikers Peak (11,600 feet elevation). The climb continues northwest to the summit. Construction of a fire lookout on the summit of Mt. Adams began in 1918. It took three summers to haul materials to the summit and construct the building. The lookout was staffed for two seasons before it was abandoned. Arthur Jones, the lookout guard, inscribed the rocks at Pikers Peak. In the 1930s, after the lookout was no longer used for fire detection, the lookout was used as the base of a sulfur mining operation on the summit. Sulfur was mined and hauled down the mountain on pack mules. Eventually, the sulfur market nose-dived and the cost of hauling the sulfur down the mountain became cost prohibitive. The mining operation was abandoned. Today the lookout is covered by glacial snow and ice. Climbers can see parts of the building at various times. Features: Historic wagon road, used in the 1930's for mining sulfur on the Summit of Mt. Adams, mountain views, Crescent Glacier, and an old lookout.


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Horse Riding & Camping

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Nature Viewing

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