Trail of Two Forests Interpretive Site

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

This trail loops through two forests that stand side by side, but are separated in age by 2000 years. One forest is old-growth Douglas-fir and western red-cedar and the other is a young forest that was originally engulfed by lava flows from an eruption of Mount St. Helens over two millennia ago. This forest encompasses three-dimensional imprints of trees in the old lava beds called lava casts. The boardwalk trail loops through the two forests, and is kid friendly.

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At a Glance

Current Conditions: 7/16/2020: Restrooms are being replaced, so currently unavailable. Construction occuring, but the trail remains open. Forest Road 8303 is gated just past this site. On 7/22/2020, the entire 8303 Road will be closed for restroom installation at the 83/8303 junction, so the site will be inaccessible. No pedestrian or vehicle traffic past the gate. Ape Cave remains closed.
Permit Info: Dec 1 to March 31:  Washington State Sno-Park Permit required and not available on-site. Purchase online or from a vendor. No other pass required during Sno-Park season.
Usage: Medium
Closest Towns: Cougar, WA
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilet (1)
Passes: April 1 to Nov. 30: America the Beautiful or Northwest Forest Passes accepted.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


From Cougar, drive east on Forest Road 90 and turn left (north) onto Forest Road 83. Drive 2 miles and turn left onto Forest Road 8303. Continue for 0.5 mile to the trailhead on the left.


This site has a flat parking area, but the trail may be a little challenging. The trail is a boardwalk in some sections to get viewers up and over the rough and crumbling volcanic terrain.

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  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
1800 - 1900