Wilderness: Mount Adams

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Mt. Adams Wilderness

Mt. Adams Wilderness is an ecologically complex Wilderness of 47,122 acres along the west slope of Mt. Adams. The 12,326-foot high Mt. Adams is the second highest peak in the Northwest after Mt. Rainier. Mt. Adams Wilderness is bounded on the east by the Yakima Indian Reservation.

A blend of dry eastside and moist west side weather conditions allow diverse types of vegetation to flourish. The mountain maintains active glaciers and traces of lahars and avalanches that altered the landscape. Volcanic activity in the area is fairly recent and some eruptions occurred just 3,500 years ago. Multiple trails provide access to spectacular views of Mt. Adams and its glaciers, mountain streams, open alpine forests and wildflowers scattered among lava flows and rimrocks.

Mt. Adams is also a popular attraction for mountain climbers. Many routes exist up Mount Adams with the South Climb route the most popular. While these routes provide a wide range of difficulty, all mountain climbing is a potentially dangerous activity. Review Mt. Adams Summit page for information about climbing Mt. Adams.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 4/18/2019: Trails in the Mt. Adams wilderness are snow covered in the Spring (typically until early/mid Summer).
Permit Info:
  • Wilderness permits are required for entry into all Gifford Pinchot National Forest Wilderness areas. The self-issuing permits are free and are available at trailheads leading into these Wildernesses, and at Forest Service Ranger Stations. 
  • A permit is required to enter the Yakima Indian Reservation on the east side of Mt. Adams. These are available for a small fee in the area of Bird Creek Meadows.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions: Wilderness Regulations Apply 
Closest Towns: Trout Lake, WA
  • Some trailheads require a valid Recreation Pass. (A valid Cascades Volcano Pass parking stub may be used at trailheads requiring a pass within Mt. Adams Wilderness between May 1 and Sept. 30.)  
  • 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. (For Wilderness travel at low elevation or during the off-season, Wilderness Permits are required.)
Information Center: Mt. Adams Ranger District

General Information


Trailheads/Trails that access Mount Adams Wilderness

Topo Maps

Mount Adams West, Green Mountain, Glaciate Butte, Mount Adams East, Trout Lake. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy maps online

Go to the National Forest Store.


Go to Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.

General Notes:

Other Trails within Mount Adams Wilderness:

  • Trail #9 Around the Mountain - access from South Climb #183, Pacific Crest Trail #2000, Gotchen Creek Trail #11, and Shorthorn Trail #16. (A permit is required to enter the Yakima Indian Reservation on the east side of Mt. Adams. These are available for a small fee in the area of Bird Creek Meadows.)
  • Trail #10 High Camp - access from Trail #2000 Pacific Crest National Scenic and Trail #113 Killen Creek.
  • Trail #114 Highline - access from Forest Road 2329 via Trail #13 Muddy Meadows or Trail #113 Killen Creek, and Trail #2000 Pacific Crest National Scenic. 
  • Trail #9A Looking Glass Lake - access from Trail #9 Around the Mountain, Trail #2000 Pacific Crest National Scenic, and Trail #12 Stagman Ridge.
  • Trail #2000 Pacific Crest National Scenic - access from multiple trails within the Wilderness as well as Trailheads: Potato Hill and Williams Mine.
  • Trail #64 Riley Camp  - access from Forest Road 23 and Trail #2000 Pacific Crest National Scenic.
  • Trail #16 Shorthorn  - access from Morrison Creek Campground.



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