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

St Helens Map
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hiking
2 days ago

Road closed 5 miles from the trailhead due to snow. But I am excited to go back in the Spring.

Awesome view! On a clear day 3 gorgeous mountains. Pitch dark when we headed back to parking lot, best place to do stargazing! Lots of shooting stars too.

hiking
7 days ago

Unique terrain created by the 80's eruption makes this a short and sweet loop hike.

hiking
12 days ago

Beautiful trail. Short and easy trail.

Oh my lord this cave is so unreal dope it’s not even funny. They let u just walk around and go rogue with a headlamp and u can just spend hours admiring the beauty of cave world. One of my favs in WA.

hiking
30 days ago

Being from Colorado, this was one of the coolest trails I've ever done... walking in a cave for 3 miles. It's freezing down there, even during the summer. Bring a headlamp. It's so much easier than having to carry a flashlight.

on Hummocks Trail

1 month ago

First, the directions through this app are wrong. It took me to a closed road. I found the trail by accident. It's right past Coldwater lake, on the left, right before the gate that they close to Johnston Ridge. Huge parking lot and no bathroom. There were 2 other cars in the lot but we didn't see anyone on the trail. Great views of Mt. St. Helens.

The upper cave offers some cool scrambling opportunities on boulder piles. The amount of feces that looked and tasted like it came from a human was disheartening but not a bad trail otherwise.

walking
1 month ago

This cave is super fun we did the longer version. If you are scared of the dark and claustrophobic you won’t be a fan but if you want an adventure go for it. You will be climbing rocks and boulders at one point a rope helps you over a rock ridge. It’s fun!

Hiked this trail in the spring/early summer of 2018 this is a beautiful trail. the water is gorgeous! plenty of creek crossings with no bridges. There are bathrooms here if you park at the lake parking area. I parked at south cold water trailhead and there are no bathrooms there. Didnt see a lot of people when I went, maybe less than 10 and there were also not a lot of bugs out at this time. I would highly recommend this trail. I do believe that no motorized boats are allowed on this lake. If you do the loop from south cold water you do have to hike back to the trail head on the highway for a mile or two, which can get busy later in the day. Trail can also be narrow and steep at times if you are doing the loop. You do need a northwest forrest pass or national parks pass to park in any areas where a pass is required.

hiking
1 month 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!!

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Driving the last ~mi on the way in is rough in spots but a car can make it, just take care. Excellent views at the very end above the treeline. All-around great hike with interesting landscape throughout.

hiking
1 month ago

Just did this trail today. It was my sister and my 2 children ages 11 and 8 and they loved it! We did Ape Trail that was above ground and once we got done we walked back and then went underground. I’m not sure which one we did I’m seeing a lot of posts where people say they did the Upper Cave area but crawled and we didn’t crawl at all. It was an open area cave but pitch black. I used a head flash light and my cell light and my kids had their own lights as well. We didn’t finish the cave trail due to my son sprang his ankle . The terrain is very unsteady so watch your step. Other than that it was really fun and awesome. I’m definitely coming back but more in the spring or summer time. Happy Hiking!

2 months ago

Did the upper caves (the challenging ones) and absolutely adored it. It gets a bit challenging in some parts but I wouldn’t consider it very hard. I enjoyed all the way.
I would recommend wearing a nice coat since the temperature is Lower downt there and definitely two sources of light (head lamp and flashlight will do) some light gloves might be helpful as well and I wouldn’t take kids younger than 8 or 9 (not only for the physical part but the fact that it’s completely dark and might find it scary)

By the way, you will need a permit in dashboard of the car to park in the lot.

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months ago

Did both caves. Did this hike without hiking baby. And I would never do this with hiking baby. Helmet is a good idea for upper trail. Recommend 2 sources of light. 1 for use 1 for backup. You do not want to be in the upper cave without light. Rope is installed for 8ft climb. Was completely alone on upper cave. Honestly not smart to do upper cave alone. Learned my lesson on that one. I am a big guy and there is a lot of tight spaces. But I did it with a camera bag and backpack. Was alone for most of the lower cave.

It was beautiful trail inside and out. We had our 1 year old son on my husband's back and were able to do about 95% of the cave until it was just too small to crawl through with a child on your back. the terrain is a but rough for a child under 4 to walk. We loved it.

hiked this on 10/28, got .15mi from the end and turned back due to snow and thunder. once we got back down 500ft or so it turned back to rain, and by the time we got back to the rock fields we had some sun and views of Mt St Helens. didn’t see anyone else which was kind of nice. trail was easy to follow, steep in some parts, and near the top some narrow parts with a sharp drop off. if you’re planning on doing this in the next few weeks, plan accordingly.

Super easy hike. The lower cave is very roomy and it’s a clear path back and out. It was a surreal experience as a first time cave-goer. My only complaint is that a duo near us had clearly been disregarding the signs not to smoke cigarettes in the cave. Without the side of fresh air, it felt like we were walking through an ashtray most of the way.

We went to the side of the upper cave. We reached a point where it seemed like it ended, so we turned around. When we were finished and left the caves and referred to the maps...we realized we hadn’t pushed on far enough and there was more to the upper cave. Will definitely go back to try it out.

Good lights- yes...I went cheap on a headlamp and it wasn’t quite bright enough for my liking

It was quite wet and drippy in there...a raincoat was nice to have.

Good, sturdy shoes. The ground is quite uneven.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun hike, went backwards starting from the upper caves. Completed 10-14-18

hiking
2 months ago

I ran through the cave basically... really wired if you know what I mean.

hiking
2 months ago

Gorgeous day, beautiful hike. The Johnston Observatory closes for the season in less than a week, so it wasn’t crowded at all. We only saw 10 other people on the trail today.

hiking
2 months ago

didn’t expect to do this underground cave today because we didn’t have proper lights. we were just going to hang out by the entrance to take pictures, but got so excited and amused by the scenes that we decided to carry on the upper (more difficult) trail using our iphones as lights. highly suggest using head lamps as you want your hands free. it’s flat rock at time, but there are a lot of boulders you need to climb.

i liked entering through the main cave entrance and taking the ground trail back to the parking lot. if i did it vice versa i would’ve probably been more uneasy taking the cave back.

it was my first cave experience / hike, but overall, i highly recommend.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike with beautiful forest scenery, moderate elevation gain, and rewarding views from the top. It took us about 3 1/2 hours total which included a short walk on the Loowit trail at the top and a lunch break. You start off in a rock field, then most of the trail is through forest, and towards the end the trees thin as you walk through loose gravel. The uphill section wasn’t too steep but still tired us out. Bring lots of water. We veered off the trail at one point and used the All Trails app to get back on track. Really helpful.

hiking
3 months ago

I loved everything about this hike. Great views at the start and at the finish of the hike. We went to the Loowit trail and headed right for a quarter mile or so. Beautiful views of Hood.

hiking
3 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.

Must do this trail. Awesome photo ops, wry exposed so bring water, sunscreen and your camera.

Awesome experience! I’ve never done a subterranean hike and this was absolutely amazing. It wasn’t too crowded today. I went al the way back on the lower trail until I belly crawled to a point where my brain said enough! I did a small portion of the upper trail as I soon realized my knee injury didn’t approve. I will return and finish that tho. Again. Amazing! But please please please bring a headlamp or flashlight. Saw a few iPhone users and it just didn’t cut it.

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