Wilderness: Mt. Adams

Area Status: Unreachable

Mt. Adams Wilderness

Mt. Adams Wilderness envelops an ecologically complex landscape along the west slope of Mt. Adams and its summit. The 47,122 acres that comprise the wilderness area are a blend of dry east-side and moist west-side ecosystems, allowing diverse types of vegetation and wildlife to flourish. Several areas along the flanks of Mt. Adams have burned in wildfires over the last several decades, providing sharp contrast with the lush unburned forests nearby and a glimpse at how landscapes regenerate after fire. Volcanic activity on Mt. Adams spans many geologic eras, with the most recent activity occurring just 3,500 years ago. Multiple trails provide access to spectacular views of Mt. Adams, including its glaciers, mountain streams, meadows, open alpine forests and lava flows.

At an elevation of 12,276 feet, Mt. Adams is the second highest peak in Washington; however, with an 18-mile wide diameter it is the largest volcano by bulk in the state. Its glaciers, along with adjoining ridges and permanent snow fields, sport many climbing routes of varying difficulty to the summit. All involve a significant degree of inherent danger and risk. Review the Mt. Adams Summit page for information about climbing Mt. Adams. A Mt. Adams Climbing Permit ( https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74420) is required from May 1st to September 30th for anyone age 16 and older traveling above 7000ft elevation on Mt. Adams, even if not attempting the summit.

The remoteness and wilderness character of Mt. Adams led to its designation as a wild area under the Forest Service U2 regulations in 1942 and ultimately to its inclusion in the Wilderness Act of 1964. This designation includes the summit of Mt. Adams, and thus Wilderness Regulations apply for those seeking adventure on its higher ridges and summit as well as those enjoying the meadows, forest, and lakes below.

Only the western half of Mt. Adams lies within the Mt. Adams Wilderness, managed by the US Forest Service. The eastern half of Mt. Adams lies within the Yakama Nation Indian Reservation and is managed by the tribe. The portion of the mountain on Yakama Nation lands is largely closed to recreation. Contact the Yakama Nation for information regarding areas open to recreation.

Mobile Friendly Map via AvenzaMount Adams Wilderness Map (Learn more about how Avenza works.)

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 2/17/2021: Trails in Mt. Adams Wilderness are currently snow covered and not accessible until early Summer. For information, contact Mt. Adams Ranger District (509) 395-3402.
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. Campfires are prohibited at certain areas on Mt. Adams. See regulations listed below and in link above. 
Closest Towns: Trout Lake, WA
  • Some trailheads require a valid Recreation Pass. (A valid Mt. Adams Climbing Permit parking stub may be used at trailheads requiring a pass within Mt. Adams Wilderness between May 1 and Sept. 30.)  
  • Purchase of a Mt. Adams Climbing Permit (https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74420) 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:

Wilderness Regulations:

Nationwide Wilderness Regulations:

Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is prohibited. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters and drones.

Gifford Pinchot Wilderness Regulations:

Entering the Wildernesses without a permit is prohibited (36 CFR 261.57(a)). Permits are required to enter any Wilderness on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. These permits are free, and may be self-issued at trailheads.

Entering or being in wilderness with a group consisting of a combination of persons, and pack or saddle stock exceeding 12 in total number is prohibited (36 CFR 261.58(f)).

Using or possessing any type of wagon, cart, or other wheeled vehicle is prohibited (36 CFR 261.57(h))

Shortcutting a trail switchback is prohibited (36 CFR 261.55(d)).

Camping within 100 feet slope distance from the shoreline of any lake and/or the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, except at Dana Yelverton Shelter within the Goat Rocks Wilderness is prohibited (36 CFR 261.58(e)).

Grazing, hitching, tethering, or hobbling any pack or saddle livestock within 200 feet slope distance of the shoreline of any lake is prohibited (36 CFR 261.57(a), 36 CFR 261.57(e), 36 CFR 261.58(aa)).

Possessing or transporting unprocessed hay or grain livestock feed is prohibited (36 CFR 261.58(t)). Unprocessed hay or grain is defined to mean baled hay or straw or other forms of livestock feed that may serve as a seed source for noxious weeds, non-native, or other undesirable plants.

Caching or storing equipment, personal property, or supplies is prohibited (36 CFR 261.57(f)). Caching is defined to mean leaving equipment unattended for more than 48 hours.

Being in an area posted as being closed for restoration, wilderness restoration, or rehabilitation is prohibited (36 CFR 261.53(b)).

Mt. Adams Wilderness-Specific Regulations:

Campfire Restrictions:

Due to the sensitivity of the ecosystem in the higher reaches of Mt. Adams

Building, maintaining, or using a campfire, within Mt. Adams Wilderness is prohibited:

  • Above the Round-The-Mountain Trail #9 from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Boundary west to Pacific Crest Trail #2000;
  • Above Pacific Crest Trail #2000 north to the intersection of Highline Trail #114;
  • Above trail #114 north and east to the Gifford Pinchot Forest Boundary. (36 CFR 261.52(a) )

Mt. Adams Climbing Permit

Purchase of a Mt. Adams Climbing Permit 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. Failing to pay any special use fee or other charges as required. 36 CFR 261.10(n)).



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