Mount Margaret Backcountry

Area Status: Open
View of Snow Lake

Explore rugged trails which lead to clear lakes, steep ridges and flowered, mountain slopes. View downed and standing dead trees killed during the 1980 eruption by a sizzling, lateral blast that pummeled the pristine forest, and see the plants and wildlife that have returned. The backcounty offers spectacular views of the crater, blast zone, and log-strewn Spirit Lake, as well as Mount Rainier and Mount Adams.

Trails are narrow, steep in places and can climb over 2,000 feet. Whittier Trail #214 is extremely challenging, very narrow, crosses steep cliffs, and is unsuitable for inexperienced hikers or those uncomfortable with heights.

Camping allowed at eight campsites by advance reservation only. Forest Roads 99 and 26 to Norway Pass Trailhead normally open the end of June through November. Portions of trails are often covered by snow until midsummer. Be prepared to cross snow slopes if you plan an early season visit

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 04/02/2024: Permits are required to access this area from April 1st to November 30th. You may purchase permits on Recreation.Gov. South Coldwater Trail, Lakes Trail, and Norway Pass are all open and accessible for the season. Conditions can change rapidly with incoming winter weather.
Operational Hours: Day use only unless you purchase a Mount Margaret Backcountry Camping Permit.
Permit Info: Mount Margaret Backcountry Camping Permit required for overnight camping. Eight campsites to choose from. Obtain online or by phone (877) 444-6777 or if hearing impaired, (866) TDD-6777.
Usage: Medium
Best Season: Summer
Busiest Season: Summer
  • To protect natural features, pack stock and bicycles are prohibited in the Mount Margaret Backcountry.
  • Fires are not allowed, plan to use a camp stove for cooking.
  • Camping is limited to eight designated campsites only.
  • Maximum group size for camping is four people, 8 people at Ridge Camp.
  • Dispersed Camping is authorized without a permit north of the Green River only.
Closest Towns: Randle, WA, Toutle, WA
Water: Water is often seasonal springs or snow melt and not always available.
Passes: A valid Recreation Pass is required at Norway Pass Trailhead: Northwest Forest Pass or Interagency Pass accepted.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:  

General Information

General Notes:

Attached you will find camp maps with current available water sources. Please note, water availablity may change through out the summer at Ridge Camp and camps located along the Boundary Trail.

Ridge Camp, Snow Camp, Shovel Camp, Obsurity Camp, Bear Camp, Dome Camp and Margaret Camp


Eastside access:

Westside access:


Day Hiking


Viewing Wildlife

Viewing Plants

Viewing Scenery

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities