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: 06/07/2021:  No reports on Loowit Trail yet. North side should be melted out, but snow remains on the south, deep in places. Forest Road 99 gated until late June normally. Reports will start apppearing on the Washington Trails Association website.  
Fees No fee or pass required for trail use, however $5/vehicle/day or a valid Recreation Pass required at some access points including Ape Canyon Trailhead, Climber's Bivouac Trailhead and Windy Ridge Interpretive Site. See Mount St. Helens Map for fee and payment sites.
Usage: Medium
Best Season: Summer
Busiest Season: Summer
  • Off-trail travel, dogs, bicycles, camping, fires and livestock are prohibited to protect sensitive natural features and scientific studies between Windy Pass and the South Fork Toutle River. This 10 mile section must be completed in one day.  See Mount St. Helens Map for information.
  • Research permits are required for off-trail travel. 
Closest Towns: Cougar WA
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Restroom: No
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

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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