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 offers an exciting array of activities for people of all abilities.  Explore 200 miles of trails ranging from barrier-free, paved walkways to more difficult day hikes and overnight backpacking trips.

Located in the heart of the blast zone, Johnston Ridge Observatory tells the biological, geological, and human story of Mount St. Helens.  Visitors can enjoy award-winning films, listen to ranger talks, observe the landscape, purchase souvenirs, set off on a hike, or get lunch from the food cart. Open mid-May through October, daily.

To protect plant and animal life and provide for visitor safety, pets are prohibited at all recreation sites and trails within the Monument’s restricted area.  Pets are permitted only in designated pet areas and must be on a leash.  Lack of shade and summer heat can endanger pets left in cars.  

Gifford Pinchot National Forest Wildernesses

Hiker at a lookoutThe Wilderness Act established an enduring resource of wilderness- lands that are affected primarily by the forces of nature, where people are visitors who do not remain.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest boasts 180,000 acres of Wilderness. 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:

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