Loowit #216- Ptarmigan to June Lake Trail

Area Status: Open
Loowit TR Southside2

This 3.1 mile section of the Loowit Trail #216 starts at its junction with Ptarmigan Trail #216A and runs east to to the June Lake Trail #216B junction. 

On this section of the Loowit Trail you will pass through a subalpine forest setting where you can discover hoop trees. During the 1980 eruption, small saplings were weighted down by heavy ash fall. Their tops remained buried, so they grow in a "hooped over" position. Enjoy spectacular views of Mount Adams as you travel through a vast meadow at timberline's edge. Then descend into the many-layered canopy of an old-growth forest. Ford the snowmelt creek at the crest of Chocolate Falls, a slurry of rock- and silt-laden waters that roll and churn down a 40-foot drop. Follow the trail over rugged rocks of an ancient lava flow that coursed down the mountain 350 years ago. As you near June Lake, pass through trees that managed to elude Mount St. Helens' eruptions for hundreds of years. 

This minimally maintained trail travels at timberline for most of its route. It passes over the rugged rocky terrain of lava flows and occasionally enters into subalpine or old-growth forest. 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 06/12/2024: The trail has patchy snow in varying amounts, some of it deep. Carry microspikes with you as a precaution. There is a decent amount of balance beaming between tree wells and frequent navigation checks are stronly recommended. No reports of post holing issues at this time. Please use extreme caution as there are many downed signs and posts. Contact Mount St. Helens for more information at 360-449-7800.
Fees: No fee or pass required 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-Medium
  • 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
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


June Lake Trailhead (No Fee) - June Lake Trail #216B to Loowit Trail.

Climbers Bivoac Trailhead (Fee site. Busy in summer.) - Ptarmigan Trail #216A to Loowit Trail.


Mountain Biking

Difficulty Level: Difficult


Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
3.1 miles

  Elevation : 
3400' - 4700'