Explore South Cascades - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

South Cascades Map
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Love taking my kiddo here. Beautiful scenery and so much wildlife.

Very scenic trail. Lots of cool birds! It’s a nice walk.

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful hike! Great access road all the way to trailhead.

You need to find a stone graffitied “falls” and veer off the main road to the left to find the yellow diamonds trail to upper and lower falls, goodluck! To enter the trail we went over a white hurdle, continues by the lake and up towards your right, immediate left turn to the “do not enter” (referring to vehicles) kind of tricky but WORTH IT!

hiking
22 days ago

The hike was not bad over all. Not very well marked on the trail which ways to go. There are several residents that live in the area. It wasn't muddy or too cold. The view of the waterfall wasn't too impressive as I had hoped.

Nice hike. Was not too muddy. Not totally sure that we found the right falls, but we found some. They did not look like a picture that was shown us when we wanted to confirm we were in the right track. There was much more to explore then we had time for, so we will definitely be going back.

Very easy hike in, trail just a little slick in areas by the falls. Falls were gorgeous and very enjoyable to listen to.

hiking
23 days ago

This was a very beautiful hike! Easy to do but requires shoes with good traction. There is a section after the bridge that allows you to go down by the water but we were unable to venture down due to slippery conditions. Highly recommend this hike in summer/fall!!

Nice walk for bird watching.

This one is fun. Suspension bridges and ladders make it especially unique. Great views of waterfalls and cascades. I did the entire trail and as other reviews have said just be careful and know that you probably shouldn’t bring pets/children. At the split near the beginning of the trail I veered right and went over the bridge. I think this is the better route because you get great views of the falls on the way back up.
Here's a video of my experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF5ragxSIw8&t=4s

***After the 30 foot ladder but before the next bridge there is another smaller ladder that is somewhat hard to find. It leads to a short out/back trail on a ridge that pays off with extraordinary views.

Travelers note:
Forest pass: YES
Parking fee: $5 without forest pass
Travel time from Portland: about 2 hours
Driving conditions: road to the trailhead has a fair amount of potholes and such. Drive is possible in a car but probably better to have a vehicle with clearance.

Great place to view wildlife... bring your binoculars to view all the different birds

One of my favorite places to go for great bird watching year-round.

trail running
1 month ago

Falls larger and better than expected

hiking
1 month ago

Just a heads up. It's hunting season. Worth the $5 to buy an orange hunting vest so you don't get shot. Ran into a couple hunters who informed me of hunting season and let me borrow a vest. Better safe than sorry. Suspension bridge was awesome.

Beautiful hike, wet leaf litter and mud near the falls made it a little slow going, but well worth it.

Great hike! We didn’t intend to do this one, but we were finished hiking Ape Caves and realized this was so close. The first two sections are pretty great...rather short...so totally doable. Parts were a little scary since it was so wet out. The bridge was quite frightening for someone who is afraid of heights. More than adequate amount of signage. I would recommend this hike when it is dry out. Gorgeous views. Did not attempt to hike the most difficult part, I read in forums that it’s quite dangerous when wet.

Part of the trail was closed. But I will delve going back. My 7 & 6 year old boys loved it. They were amazed by a wood pecker and they didn’t want to leave. Great if you want to look for animals. Bring your binoculars

This is always my go to trail to just get away from people. You'll maybe see 6 or so people the entire trip. Lots of places to camp and plenty is space between camp sites giving you the solitude you want!

started the trail late than we wanted to, so we were racing against the sun. trail is pretty scenic and you get different views of your surroundings the higher you go — spirit lake, mt adam, mt rainier. saw two deer throughout the whole hike.

we took a wrong turn and made a left at the split towards the top of the trail. there was signage (from 2017) saying that the trail to the right was closed because of washouts, but we should’ve ignored it and continued on to get the full view of mount st. helens. the trail we took (to the left) sort of just... ends — with only a partial view of mount st. helens.

i’d go back to explore trail right next time i’m in the PNW

hiking
2 months ago

I e only ever done the very short part of this hike where we loop back after the suspension bridge but this time we decided to go right and continue on. I looked at the map and I saw where we could stay in the Lava Canyon trail by keeping left at the bridge. Once we hit SCOTT trail we took a little break over looking the river. We decided to go down SCOTT trail u til it met up with the upper part of Lava Canyon trail. It is t marked but you can see the trail to the left. Also I knew it was only .3 of a mile. They really should put signage there. The upper trail is all up! Looks like an old Forrest access road overgrown. But we had to take a couple short breaks to rest. It’s over 3 miles up. I believe we climbed about 1204 feet. I could definitely say no dogs past the suspension bridge and this is definitely rated HARD in my book. Scary at times. I am glad I did it.

Beautiful fall hike in the woods..trail is in
amazing shape..be sure friends are not afraid to cross bridges..the first bridge is very slanted but secure..icy in the AM. But so worth it all .Great Hike!

I loved these views!! Went yesterday and arrived at 3pm and made it to the campsites by 430 or so. It’s an easy hike that goes through tons of beautiful fall foliage, and at this time all the leaves are smelling and crisp and like autumn rain! The sun was out and I got amazing views of Spirit Lake, St. helens, Rainier, Adams, and Mt Hood. It was crazy!!! Wish I could’ve made it to the top. Planned to camp there and completely forgot drinking water and discovered it was a dry trail. Had to turn around once I ran out. So pack a ton of water, and wear sunscreen! I’m definitely coming back to this hike. I loved that we didn’t go through many trees, because that meant open sky and views pretty much the whole way. I used directions from the WTA website and they helped so much. There’s a lot of junctions and sometimes it can be confusing. Print something out beforehand and make sure you know where you’re headed.
Forest roads along the way were paved for the most part with some random yet kinda common cracks and potholes. like really bad ones. They’re not gravel roads, but it looks like the road split in half, maybe due to the eruption of St. helens? Some of the paved roads are cracked and caved in so just drive slow. All vehicles should be good.

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely beautiful!

Trail is closed until October 1st for logging. A huge disappointment

Beautiful trail. Paved road all the way and large parking area. Vine maples are changing color... lots of variety on this hike. A very enjoyable outing!

came in on the little mashel falls-bud Blancher trail side. beautiful trail but beware of vicious blue heeler living on the ranch the trail goes by on the right side. my dog was bit and had to turn back. need to try again with out the pup!

on Lava Canyon Trail

3 months ago

Not for kids or dogs. Watch your footing as it gets very narrow in some spots. It was pouring rain when we went so we had to be extra cautious on the slopes and the ladder.

I really enjoyed doing this trail definitely empty your bladders before heading out and there is a portable potty out the as well as facilities to use the restroom. so much beauty surrounding you

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