Loowit #216- Sheep Canyon to Butte Camp Trail

Area Status: Open

This 3 mile section of the Loowit Trail #216 starts at the Sheep Canyon Trail #240 junction and runs south to the Butte Camp Trail #238A junction. 

This section of the Loowit trail weaves in and out of timberline skirting Mount St. Helens' western slope. The trail crosses large glacial canyons and avalanche chutes that are more typical of Mount Rainier or Mount Adams, the Cascades' older and more weathered volcanoes.

Here you can enjoy the beauty of subalpine settings and a bounty of wildflowers during the summer season. Explore numerous mudflows and the rugged jumble of rock from past lava flows. Please stay on the trail and protect the fragile meadow of Upper Butte Camp where important plant succession research is taking place. Check out the panorama views to the south and east including views of Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Yale Reservoir and the Lewis River Valley. 

This section of trail receives minimal maintenance and traverses the western slope of the mountain, connecting Sheep Canyon Trail #240 to Butte Camp Trail #238A. It gains little elevation on the route, descending and ascending steeply only out of the glaciated valleys. 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 05/09/2024: Access to the Loowit Trail from Sheep Canyon are blocked by snow on Forest Road 81 through Forest Road 8123. This area will often melt out between the first and second week of June and sometimes into July. Access to this area is heavily dependent on snow levels and warm weather temperatures assisting in melt out.
Fees: No fee or pass for trail use, however a $5/vehicle/day or a valid Recreation Pass required at some access points including Ape Canyon Trailhead, Climber's Bivouac Trailhead and Windy Ridge Interpretive Site. See Mount St. Helens Map for fee and payment sites.
Usage: Light
Best Season: Summer and Fall
Busiest Season: Summer
  • Off-trail travel, dogs, bicycles, camping, fires and livestock are prohibited to protect sensitive natural features and scientific studies between Windy Pass and the South Fork Toutle River. This 10 mile section must be completed in one day.  See Mount St. Helens Map for information.
  • Research permits are required for off-trail travel. 
Closest Towns: Cougar, WA
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


This segment can be accessed by Sheep Canyon Trail #240 or Butte Camp #238A. Both trails are accessed via the Toutle Trail # 238.

Blue Lake Trailhead (Forest Road 8323) - accesses Toutle Trail #238 and Sheep Canyon Trail #240

Red Rock Pass Trailhead (Forest Road 81) - accesses Toutle Trail #238 and Butte Camp Trail # 238A.




Difficulty Level: Moderate

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
3 miles

  Elevation : 
4700' - 4800'