Trail #216 Loowit

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Ape Canyon

This exciting trail circles Mount St. Helens, allowing you to experience the entire range of effects the 1980 eruption had on the mountain and the surrounding area.  Loowit Trail #216 is a challenging hike across rough terrain. The entire route is 30 miles in length and each segment varies in its difficulty rating.

The trail is not crossed by a single road and can be accessed by "feeder" trails usually identified by the number #216 and a letter of the alphabet. Ape Canyon Trail #234, Sheep Canyon Trail #240, and Truman Trail #207 also access the Loowit Trail #216 and allow day hikers the opportunity to hike sections of the trail.

Loowit Trail Sections:

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Open, Loowit Trail Conditions Report   12/10/18: Winter conditions exist; expect snow and ice. Forest Roads 99 and 83 east of Marble Mountain closed for the season.
Usage: Medium
Best Season: Summer
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: NO camping, dogs, bicycles, fires, or livestock in the restricted area between the South Fork Toutle River and Windy Pass. This 10 mile section is to be completed in one day. Please plan accordingly. Off trail travel is prohibited without a special use permit.
Closest Towns: Cougar WA
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Restroom: No
Passes: A valid Recreation Pass is required at various access points to the Loowit Trail.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Gifford Pinchot National Forest Offices

General Information

General Notes:


No Camping or off trail travel is allowed in the north portion of the trail from Windy Pass to the South Fork Toutle River.  This 10 mile stretch is to be completed in one day.  Please plan accordingly. Dispersed camping is allowed on other portions of the trail. There are no definitive campsites and hikers must plan accordingly. Camping opportunities exist on the south side of the South Fork Toutle River, Plains of Abraham and various locations on the south side of the Loowit Trail. Please practice Leave No Trace.


Water is limited in late summer. Year round springs are located at the following locations

  • 1 mile from the Butte Camp/ Loowit Junction on the Butte Camp Trail.
  • 1/4 mile from the Loowit Toutle Junction on the Toutle
  • 1/2 mile from the Windy/ Loowit Junction.

There are additional water sources of snow melt and creeks around the mountain but these may be limited during late summer.

Restricted Area

The 10 mile segment north of Windy Pass and north of the South Fork of the Toutle is closed to off trail hiking, pets, bikes, fires and camping. Portions of this trail system enter the Restricted Area. Travel is allowed on approved trails only.

Off-trail travel and camping are prohibited to protect sensitive natural features and scientific studies. Research permits are required for off-trail travel.


Key access points: 


We suggest parking at Marble Mountain Sno-park. There are toilets but no water.



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  Elevation : 
3,400' - 4,800'


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