Trail #225 Smith Creek

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

The south end of the Smith Creek Trail has suffered significant damage. Hikers using the trail from the Lower Smith Creek trailhead should be aware of obstacles including downed trees, eroded cliff areas and loose trail tread.


The Smith Creek Trail offers a chance to observe the immense impact of the 1980 eruption. This section is part of the popular Ape Canyon /Smith Creek Mountain Bike Loop.

The trail quickly drops from the trailhead at Forest Road 99 into the Smith Creek valley. Two waterfalls are located near the foot of the steep-descent. Following the valley bottom, the trail crosses Ape Canyon Creek and then Muddy River. Here the trail intersects Lava Canyon Trail #184. Continue downstream for 1 mile to the Lower Smith Creek Trailhead at Forest Road 8322.

Special Conditions: Loose pumice surface, especially at the northern end of the trail.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 06/04/2021: South trailhead (off Forest Road 8322) accessible, but road is very rough, recommended for high clearance vehicles only. Use caution. Forest Road 99 gated just past Wakepish Sno-Park so north trailhead inaccessible.
  • No fee or pass required at Lower Smith Creek Trailhead or Smith Creek Trailhead on Forest Road 99.
  • $5/vehicle/day or valid Recreation Pass required at Lava Canyon Interpretive Site. See Mount St. Helens Map for fee and payment sites
Usage: Light-Medium
Best Season: Summer-Fall
Busiest Season: Summer
Closest Towns: Randle, WA, Cougar, WA 
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


  • Upper Smith Creek Trailhead (Road 99)
  • Lower Smith Creek Trailhead (Road 8322)

  • General Notes:

    Busy and popular Mountain Biking Trail.

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    Mountain Biking

    Recreation areas with activity Mountain Biking:
    See activity description under Backpacking.


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      Area/Length : 
    10.2 miles

      Elevation : 
    1600 - 4400


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