Trail #183 South Climb

Area Status: Unreachable

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. 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 4/19/2019: Road 80 to trailhead is currently snow covered and not plowed during the Spring. Parking is approx. 6 miles below the trailhead at this time of year. A Cascade Volcano Pass is required for climbing May 1 - Sept. 30. Contact the Mt. Adams Ranger District 509-395-3402 for further information.
Permit Info: For Wilderness travel at low elevation or during the climbing off-season, Wilderness Permits are required. Wilderness permits are free and self-issued at trailheads.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Wilderness Regulations apply 
Closest Towns: Trout Lake, WA
Water: Treat all non potable water before consuming.
Restroom: Vault Toilet (1) at South Climb Trailhead
  • A valid Recreation Pass is required at South Climb Trailhead/Cold Springs. A valid Cascades Volcano Pass stub may be used instead between May 1 and Sept. 30. Cascades Volcano Passes are not available on-site.  
  • Purchase of a Cascades Volcano Pass is required if you are climbing above 7,000 feet elevation in Mt. Adams Wilderness, between May 1 and September 30.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Mt. Adams Ranger District

General Information


South Climb Trailhead & Cold Springs Camp

From Trout Lake, Washington take Mt Adams Road north to the V intersection with Forest Road 23. At this intersection stay to the right 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 trailhead located in the old Cold Springs Camp area.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Horse Riding & Camping

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Nature Viewing

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Areas & Activities



  Area/Length : 
Marked trail 3.4 miles; 6 miles to the summit

  Elevation : 
5600' - 12276'


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