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.

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Went off hours, late afternoon on a weekday, and had the place almost to myself. Can get packed on weekends.

Good hike for all. It’s a little steep, but not too bad. Brought my 13 year old nephew and 18 year old daughter. Both had no problem. A little smokey. Bugs are around so bring bug spray.

BTW. Whoever left cigarette butts on the trail should apologize. I removed them for you.

hiking
1 day ago

Awesome hike! We took our 5 year old and he did awesome. There were some hard parts with climbing rocks but he made it through the whole trail! I suggest flash lights, gloves for climbing the rocks and hiking boots, no flip flops.

My first hike after being cancer free will always be in my heart.

hiking
2 days ago

hard upper caves. but worth it

Amazing Views!! You really need do this on clear day, cause you can see all four Mountains...
It's a must do if you love hiking, but it's good climb...

Easy trail to navigate. Bring bug repellent! The views from the top are world class. Pay close attention to the weather, I imagine clouds would kill the view if you head up on the wrong day. The drive to the trailhead is easy. Anyone terrified of heights should be hesitant. Caution at the top is a must, the lookout is literally at the edge of a cliff.

hiking
6 days ago

Hiked this trail 7/7. Did the lower section first, which should be rated hard. It is not for small children, dogs, or anyone fearful of heights. I am none of those things but there were a couple of places on the trail that sped up my heartbeat!

As noted by another reviewer, several people have died on this trail, I imagine they went beyond the many signs telling them to stay on the trail. We saw quite a few people doing just that the day we were there. The ladder is tall but very sturdy. However, there is one place one the trail that is quite skinny and you also have to step up a couple of feet. Yikes!

Turned around at the bridge and back up the way we came down, then did the easy loop across the suspension bridge. The water is beautiful.

backpacking
7 days ago

Epic views and ever changing scenery. The Wonderland takes you through subalpine meadows, old growth forests, over talus fields and raging glacial rivers. Challenging elevation gains and losses, I think there might be 10 feet of flat path on the whole trail! Challenging terrain in places and smooth forest path in others. Snow crossings, sketchy washout sections. Always, ALWAYS check trail conditions report before heading out, especially to see if bridges are in and never underestimate the danger of the water crossings, never ford alone. Be prepared to change plans or bail out if you cannot cross safely. Campsites all have backcountry privy and bear poles. Cache points at Sunrise, Longmire and Mowich, and abundant water sources make it easy to travel light. Trail is well marked and traveled.

fantastic! only one mosquito August 1 , a few deerfly. my 13 year old did this with me and loved it. saw multiple deer and eagles, under trees, next to the water and some Rocky areas keep it from getting boring and repetitive, scenery is gorgous

hiking
8 days ago

Multiple wonderful views of beautiful waterfalls, coupled with somewhat scary cliffs to traverse. There is plenty of solid ground at these points, the narrowest point being about a foot of trail, but it is quite a long way down. I highly recommend this hike as the environment is quite fantastic, but watch your little one's closely. If you are bringing a dog, these is a 30' steel ladder, nearly vertical, that you need to scale. Plan accordingly.

Beautiful! Great hike! Bugs were particularly bad this time.. take bug repellent and spray it on a few times on the way up.. you will
sweat it off..can't sit on the rocks behind the shelter completely covered and swarming with flying ants & bees. This hike is worth it regardless of the steep spots very rewarding!!

hiking
9 days ago

This is a decent hike, it's not very long but it's steep at times. It took me exactly 1 hour to climb up with some water and snack breaks and only 40 min down. The views are great but would be best on a clear day (there was cloud cover when i went). Bring bug spray, the horseflies are out trying to make new friends. :D

This was a pleasant experience in total but moderate probably doesn’t do this hike Justice. About half way through the hike it gets steep and doesn’t let up at any point. The summit is crazy dangerous and kids need to be careful at all times. The view from the top is amazing and erases all of the negative thoughts gathered while making the trek. The horse flies are out in force so bring repellent and apply it amply before you leave the car.

hiking
10 days ago

We did the whole trail. The top part of the difficult section was a little nerve racking for me since the ledge is thin and some loose dusty ground there. But it was well described.

Took us 2 hours round trip

hiking
11 days ago

Great views

The drive there was very bumpy. Take a suv or truck. The way down to the waterfall is a bit tricky. We went on a Saturday afternoon and it almost looked like we were at a water park FULL of people, everyone was nice and minded their own business, so we didn’t really mind that. Great swimming spot for kids. We took our 2 year old and she LOVED it.

If you are coming from southern washington the road to get there will say closed about 3-4 miles from the trailhead. We drove past the road closed signs and came to a giant pothole in the road that no cars could get around (jeeps or trucks could make it) so we had to park and walk about 2 miles to the trail, being chased by bees the whole way. Not fun. But the lower waterfall was gorgeous and good for swimming, and I will be going back! Next time we will go around to enter from the north side to avoid the potholes and bees.

The waterfalls are worth the drive and hike!

Technically this trail is 3 modes of difficulty. You have options. The first is a paved interactive walk that has plenty of marked signage and history about the formation of Lava Canyon. It is wheelchair accessible and fairly straightforward.

The second trail is a loop. It is easy to moderate depending on what time of year you go. The trail gets slick in places. This is the portion of the trail that has the (amazing) 128 ft suspension bridge and the ladder. Its quick and I saw several families as we hiked. Kids love the suspension bridge. After the suspension bridge you can choose to go down and to the left which leads into the canyon or you can go up and to the right which continues the moderate loop you are already on.

Did I try the advanced trail? No. There is signage EVERYWHERE about people who have died because they didn't understand the risks. The third option is for experienced hikers and climbers. From what I understand it is a canyon that follows the flow of the falls. It is slick, steep, and dangerous. I know what my hiking level is. Someday I will get there. But not today.

overall the moderate Lava Canyon trail is what most think of when they learn about the trail. The views are incredible. The contrast of blackened lava and ice feed waterfalls against a cool green backdrop of forest and moss is stunning. You can see how the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's impacted the area because you are literally standing in the wake of dried lava flow 38 years later.

So glad I got to see it BUT the road to get there washed out and we were detoured thru hood river Oregon to get home! Literally took us an additional four hours to get back to I-5.

hiking
16 days ago

Hiked up just past where ape canyon trail intersects loomit loop, ate lunch, hiked back down. Clocked it at 10.3mi in 5 hrs including stops (doggy sniffing included).

* dusty and dry. BRING WATER especially for furry friends - there are 0 spots for them to drink from any bodies of water. Period.
* pretty flat footing all the way up since it’s a mixed use trail used by many mountain bikers.
* steady incline with a few ups and downs. No steep bits. I would put this on the easy side of moderate, with the only moderate part being the length. It really was quite an easy hike.
* all the mountain bikers we ran into were super respectful and conscious of hikers being on trail.
* great views of St. Helens, Adams, and even Rainier!
* bugs weren’t bad in the morning, but got bad as the day got hot. There were only a few mosquitoes towards the beginning, and the rest of the way up it was just a lot of flies. They were more annoying than anything. We got very few bites from the mosquitoes and the rare biting fly. Once we popped out onto the plains, there was an amazing breeze and the bugs were gone.
* LOTS of other trails to connect to and directions to go in once you reach the plains if you’re looking for a longer trek.

16 days ago

Very unique! Def make sure to take gloves and layers. It’s 40* down there. Wouldn’t recommend taking little kids through the whole length of the caves. Def a must see.

This hike is super fun and a great way to start some of the more serious hikes. Getting a permit can be hard since they are sold out so far in advance but I was able to buy one from someone who couldn’t make it. (Permit needed after 4800ft) beautiful view up top, and I had it to myself for 40minutes in the morning! Would totally recommend if you can acquire permits for it.

Beautiful upper and lower falls and the middle the falls isn't too bad either. It was in the 90s but felt cool in all the trees.

Went up on the 17th and it was amazing

This hike isn’t very long, but gets pretty steep in areas. Not in the best shape currently so it was definitely difficult. The view at the end is beyond worth it, though. Absolutely breathtaking views of Rainier and the surrounding area.

5 stars for the beauty of the trail but it’s very small good for kids

I’m intimidated by elevation gain and had been sitting on my butt recovering from surgery for 2 weeks when my boyfriend decided to drag me out on this hike. I thought I was going to die but the pay off is worth it. I want to go back to see the sunset there!

hiking
21 days ago

Great views of Mt. St Helens the entire hike! This trail is well marked and trafficked. Devil’s Elbow isn’t maintained anymore—it is blocked off and there is an arrow pointing you to stay on the Boundary Trail. Was able to see Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood in the distance while on Harry’s Ridge. There are wildflowers everywhere you look. Pretty exposed hike, so make sure you’ve got sunscreen. I got to Johnston Ridge Observatory around 9:30 and the parking lot was mostly empty.

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