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This is a nice, easy trail. It’s paved or gravel the whole way. There is road traffic noise and a train along the side. The views are great and at the end is a great swimming hole with the clearest water. Bring water shoes for that though! You can just drive to Moulton Falls State park and start there if you want all the beauty but a shorter hike. There is no waterfall on this trail but there is one about .8 miles the other direction at Lucia falls. Pretty low traffic but you’ll see people at most times.

hiking
13 hours ago

This is a difficult but fun trek up to a beautiful summit. The last bit is a challenge but the 360 degree view is incredible and well worth it. We saw a lot of wild flowers, berries and fungi along the way and made several photo stops as the view is spectacular at several points along the way. Bring water and sunblock, there’s a good portion out from under the trees.

hiking
1 day ago

Life goal check! My first real hike in 2 years so it was a challenge. I went all the up to the end of the trail. Views are spectacular!

Almost didn’t do this trail but so happy I did. You think you’re getting the best view about a mile from the top but I promise the last push is worth it. From the summit, you have a great view of Helens, Hood, and Adams. Pretty exposed trail but the views are worth it.

hiking
2 days ago

Well marked trail and a change up from the normal adventures around Mount St Helens

There are 2 levels to this cave. The main tube (I think it's the lower cave) is really easy walk. We got bored with it and turned around. The other level ( upper cave) is pretty rough. The Rangers said that it is for more experienced cavers. People have had to be rescued due to concussions, broken bones and getting stuck. There's a wall that you have to climb over. Once you do that, there is no turning back and you have to continue onward. This was our first cave, so we didn't do that one. This is info that the Rangers shared with us. Have fun, but be careful!

hiking
3 days ago

SO MUCH FUN. I’m so used to trail hiking that this was such a fun break! We did the lower cave first, then walked up the hill and went DOWN the upper cave rather than up. The rock scrambles in the upper cave are so cool and tons of fun to climb up, but going DOWN there are a few 6-8 foot drops you have to get down that are a little complicated (I needed help down one of them because I couldn’t reach the foothold). USFS and NW Forest Passes not sold on site from what I could see, so make sure you buy ahead of time. I used a flashlight and the flashlight on my phone because I left my headlamp at home. Would definitely suggest a headlamp, possibly gloves, and hiking boots to make your life a little easier on the way. Also FOR SURE dress in layers! The caves hang out at about 45*F year round! Lots of bruises from the rocks but it was totally worth it, one of my favorite adventures I’ve done to date!

awesome, grin a bare the last 2miles. But it's worth it!
Take food and water for lunch at the top

hiking
4 days ago

Fossil Trail 242: Gifford Pinchot Forest
13 August 2018
This is an overlooked hiker trail I can recommend – moderate difficulty for the first mile then easier. Well traveled by horses but no shoe prints or bike tracks today. With the temperature in the mid-90s this August hike was 95% in the cool shade of a moderate growth forest. The trail starts in the north end of the Kalama Horse camp – walk 100 yards and cross the FR 81 to the trail signpost. Begin at 2,200’ elevation. The first quarter-mile is relatively flat then joins an old caterpillar track and ascends 30° for a mile with a couple switchbacks – this is the steepest part of the whole trail. The second mile is easier at a 10° ascent and by mile 3 is level at 3500’ (highest elevation).
On the ascent and right side of the trail looms Goat Mountain (4,965 feet tall). It is NE of the trail and viewed from time to time through the trees. Essentially the trail follows The Fossil Creek Valley and contours around the western slope of Goat Mountain. There are no trails marked on the map for a Goat Mountain climb. Along the way the only opening in the forest are four avalanche chutes – easily traversed.
At mile 3.3 the trail enters the Mount Saint Helens Monument boundary and follows it in and out for a mile. It is here the trail descends to Goat Marsh Creek – the only water source. On this part of the trail, now traveling east, a few glimpses of MSH can be seen. The trail eventually joins up with Road 8123 and ends south of Blue Lake where the Blue Lake Trail and Toutle Trail can be accessed leading back to the Kalama Horse Camp; a 14-mile loop.
The quality of the forest makes this hike. Patches of moderate and old growth Nobel & Hemlock Fir, and Western Red Cedar marks this as a mature mixed forest. Many large trees are >4’ DBH and a couple >6’. The tread is entirely ash/pumice and in many places the trail needs brushing, berms knocked down, the trail widened, and limbs trimmed. Long pants and hiking poles are recommended. No ticks.
Wildlife: abundant bear and coyote scat, along with elk droppings.
A report on this trail by Tom Paulu Oct 2, 2014 (The Daily News) says the Forest Service opened the trail in 2003 and it was built by Backcountry Horsemen of Washington.

hiking
5 days 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.

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike - be prepared that it's all up hill going out. The ending is worth it though!

hiking
6 days ago

hard upper caves. but worth it

Tuesday early afternoon, we saw about 15 people total, which is more than I'm used to on other trails. Everyone was super polite and we still got to the lake and enjoyed it solo for almost 45 minutes, which was a real treat. Not as many bugs as expected, very clear and easy hike. Definitely a good starter trail or hike with kids. Only a short part vaugely close to a drop off but the trail is wide and it's not directly adjacent the trail.

CLOSED TODAY DUE TO “DANGEROUS CONDITIONS”.

Signs at the trail head still say closed. The area that “closed” the trail is a dried washed out creek. Easily crossed considering the the rest of the hike takes good footing with loose rock. Also passed the park workers replacing the bridge. Second time hiking this, always love the burn towards the top. Bug spray would be helpful :)

Getting to the trailhead is simple enough. I came up by way of Merrell Lake and the Kalama Horse Camp. I think most people go up and past Ape Cave but both are fine. As others noted, the trail is in great shape. Bring water and DEET with you though! The lack of water along the hike was disappointing to me but it was still a great time.

I would suggest that you explore the actual lower camp area once you get up to the base of Butte dome. The camp ain’t much... a couple of logs serving as benches around a fire ring but still...

The second recommendation is to go that last mile to reach the Loowit Trail. The views are spectacular and once you get above the tree line, well that’s just cool experience.

Most of the hike is in the woods so catching those grand vistas up past lower camp is exceptionally worthy.

on June Lake Trail

backpacking
12 days ago

Beautiful views of the mountain and stream. June Lake is pretty to look at, but it is not a lake; it's the little cousin of a pond. Not great for hammock camping if you need relatively specific distances between trees for your tarp, and don't plan on even getting your shins cooled down in the "lake". Great day hike if you just want to see some views though!

Steep but rewarding hike. Get there early on a weekend to avoid the crowds. I wish I would have brought trekking poles; there are many areas with loose gravel going up.

So much fun and not too hard for a beginner like me :-) We did 8 miles before we turned back and we only saw a few others on the paved path which was cool. We saw a few snakes, cows, and goats along the way which was fun!

Great hike, although the amount of horse crap that is everywhere is pretty gross. Just be careful. Its literally everywhere.

hiking
15 days ago

Great views

hiking
16 days ago

Aug 2

I like this trail. Worth squirming your way to the waterfalls when you get to the lake. Theres the big one and a misty one with great photo ops. Pretty quiet and easy trail. Mushrooms  everywhere but can’t pick

hiking
16 days ago

Saw ducks, blue herons, cranes, hawks, several varieties of small birds, deer and nutria. The four hundred year old oaks are amazing.

Love this hike so much. It so secluded and a beautiful walk. Could spend all day here. The signs are a bit confusing at first but I do love it. The mill is always a great see.

20 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.

We loved bringing our dogs here to enjoy this beautiful spot. I loved being nestled in all the nature surrounding me. We saw a coyote, it was near the trail by the farm but ran into the farm land when we came by. It didn’t run into the woods, just stood watching us. We saw tons of birds. Very nice place!

It was a decent trail but directions to get here are very confusing and we ended up parking on the side of the road. Just from walking the trail, it came through the university so parking there would have been much easier. Trail goes through trees but you also walk on paved sidewalks next to the roads/traffic. Busy trail.

Great place to take kids, see some horses and listen to the birds, see the beautiful trees and not too difficult. Beautiful place to use your imagination.

I've hiked a few sections of this trail, specifically, all the way from Scaponia Park to Vernonia. This trail follows along the Scappoose Vernonia Highway, but does not CURRENTLY end where the description here says. It actually ends at the end of Knott Street in Vernonia behind an unmarked gate. I have a recording that shows the map. If you begin in Pittsburg, you will be met with signs from Weyerhauser warning you NO TRESPASSING. All in all, a nice getaway from the city, but you certainly won't meet many folks on the western portion of this trail.

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