Trail #225 Smith Creek


Area Status: Open

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: 07/01/22: Expect brushy conditions and areas with challenging trail tread. In addition, Lower Lava Canyon Trail is OPEN; however, note that south of the Muddy River Bridge, to Lower Smith Creek Trailhead, the trail is in poor condition. Tread has been damaged by weather in multiple places and very large trees are down across the trail. Visitors "through-hiking" Lava Canyon must be prepared for challenging conditions after crossing the last bridge on the Muddy River.   Trailhead is best accessed by a high-clearance vehicle due to rough road conditions.
Fees:
  • 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

Directions:

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

  • General Notes:

    Busy and popular Mountain Biking Trail.


    Recreation Map

    Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

    Activities

    Mountain Biking

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

    Day Hiking

    Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:
    See activity description under Backpacking.

    Backpacking

    Recreation areas with activity Backpacking: The trail quickly drops from 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 and Forest Road 8322. Special Conditions: Loose pumice surface, especially at the northern end of the trail.

    Recreation Areas

    Recreation Activities

    Location

     
      Area/Length : 
    10.2 miles

      Elevation : 
    1600 - 4400