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This hike really impressed us. We were looking for something a little bit different than the usual mountain hikes were used to, so we decided to give this trail a try. We really enjoyed that the trail was unique, in that you’re quite literally traversing down a canyon adjacent to magnificent gushing water and waterfalls. We enjoyed the views most on the lower portion of the trail, and especially loved the ladders...just got a kick out of those! All in all, we loved it and would definitely do it again!

mosquitoes mosquitoes. Other than that beautiful, did I say mosquitoes!

Hard rating is accurate. Most of this climb is sans trail, rather, you just follow cairns with wood posts to guide you up through the volcanic scree to the South Face approach. Did this on a Mon/Tue and it was still fairly crowded, I can’t imagine a weekend crowd. The glissade chutes are an absolute blast and cut your decent time significantly!

Fantastic trail

We had a bluebird day (7/11/18). All my pictures just won't do justice for the amazing views we had.

The road to the trail head is rough but doable in a stock 4Runner.

Definitely go up Ed’s Trail and come back on the Silver Star path. Breathtaking views of the area.

hiking
10 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.

hiking
12 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.

hiking
14 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

My daughter was driving her Honda Pilot and was not comfortable with driving up the last 2.4 miles to the trailhead so we parked and walked to the trailhead adding another 4.8 to the overall hike but it was still an amazing hike. I’m pretty sure someone with more experience (and patience) would have been able to make it to the trailhead in her Pilot but she was not about to try. This is the third or fourth time I’ve done this hike but still love it and will probably continue to hike it from time to time.

This trail is typically done in two days. Most people camp too early. I strongly suggest camping on your left-hand side of Lunch Counter right before the big push up. However, the right side did have a running stream from snow melt. All camp spots have access to snow for melting drinkable water. The camp spots are typically parapets made of lava rock with sandy floors. They make excellent wind breaks. We did this the last two days of July and I brought way too many warming layers. It was maybe 40°F on lunch counter and 60°+ in our 2-person summer lightweight. I suppose you should always prepare for a cold snap tho. Bring crampons and axe. The glissading chutes are deep and although steep, they are safe to slide down and I’ve been told on good years you can slide down all the way from the false summit to Lunch Counter. Bring a waterproof layer for glissading. Also, some snow gators would have been helpful. My wife’s feet remained dry with the gators, mine were soaked. Bring extra socks and leave another pair in the car. There was a large mountain sheep that gets within arms reach that apparently lives around Lunch Counter. The smoke from all the fires blocked our views of Hood, St. Helens, Rainier and others, but we could kind of make out the shapes. The top was super windy and cold. Bring some warm layers in daypack for the last ascent. I suggest snow gloves.

The Rangers’ at the ranger station were not very helpful. They warned of a massive thunderstorm when multiple websites we checked had “sunny w/ heat” advisory. I asked where she got her information which she seemed to take as a challenge, and said “NOAA is the only one you can trust for mountain climbing. Also you can’t see anything with the fires anyway.” SASSY! NOAA confirmed a heat advisory. We took her warning with skepticism and checked it out for ourselves. It was super sunny both days. I’m really just ranting at this point, but she would say things like, “conditions at altitude change in an instant,” and “It gets dark under those clouds real quick,” but when asked, she admitted she had not been up there and had no intention of climbing a mountain.

All things considered, this was a great climb. Will do again.

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.

Hiked a car to car in 10.5hrs this Saturday, 7/28, started at 6am, back to the car at 4:30pm. 7hr ascent, 3.5hr descent. Crampons not needed but still recommended (I did see a lot of people using cleats though) Plenty of running water on the mountain. Summited at 1pm and peak was totally covered in clouds.. Glissading was very painful due to ice and hard to slow down. There were hundreds of people hiking on Saturday yet still managed to find a parking spot right at trail entrance #183. First time on Adams and was very fun despite cloudy peak and icy slide down!

This trail is typically done in two days. Most people camp too early. I strongly suggest camping on your left-hand side of Lunch Counter right before the big push up. However, the right side did have a running stream from snow melt. All camp spots have access to snow for melting drinkable water. The camp spots are typically parapets made of lava rock with sandy floors. They make excellent wind breaks. We did this the last two days of July and I brought way too many warming layers. It was maybe 40°F on lunch counter and 60°+ in our 2-person summer lightweight. I suppose you should always prepare for a cold snap tho. Bring crampons and axe. The glissading chutes are deep and although steep, they are safe to slide down and I’ve been told on good years you can slide down all the way from the false summit to Lunch Counter. Bring a waterproof layer for glissading. Also, some snow gators would have been helpful. My wife’s feet remained dry with the gators, mine were soaked. Bring extra socks and leave another pair in the car. There was a large mountain sheep that gets within arms reach that apparently lives around Lunch Counter. The smoke from all the fires blocked our views of Hood, St. Helens, Rainier and others, but we could kind of make out the shapes. The top was super windy and cold. Bring some warm layers in daypack for the last ascent. I suggest snow gloves.

The Rangers’ at the ranger station were not very helpful. They warned of a massive thunderstorm when multiple websites we checked had “sunny w/ heat advisory.” I asked where she got her information which she took as a challenge, and she said “NOAA is the only one you can trust for mountain climbing. Also you can’t seem anything with the fires anyway.” SASSY. NOAA confirmed a heat advisory. We took the warning with skepticism and checked it out for ourselves. It was super sunny both days. I’m really just ranting at this point, but she would say things like, “conditions at altitude change in an instant,” and “It gets dark under those clouds real quick,” but when asked, she admitted she had not been up there and had no intention of climbing a mountain.

All things considered, this was a great climb. Will do again.

Don’t underestimate Mount Hood. Lunch Counter is 100% snow feee with water. Glissade down was difficult do to icy hard chutes . . We summited at 8:30am.Hard to beat a sunrise at elevation . . Mountain shadow, etc . . But the downside this time of year is the iffy glissade down . . If you want an awesome glissade . . I would recommend a summit time around 11am. I would recommend crampons . . But spikes are probably good enough . . I just wouldn’t take the chance. Summit shack is just starting to come out. Summit weather at 8:30am was puuurfect . .zero wind, blue skies, and 5 Mountains were out: Rainier, Helens, Hood, Jefferson and 3 Sisters.

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.

This is a fantastic hike. Had my dog with me so had to turn around about half way due to steep rock climb. Pretty slippery and would be easy for her or I to lose our footing and it would be a looong fall down. Didn't want to chance it. Will definitely go back without my adventure buddy to do the whole thing. Love that it is difficult to get to so not too many people (relative to other hikes in the area). On way back down the road there were a lot of cars parked on the narrow road making it difficult to get around them on the washouts.

hiking
28 days ago

Being that it was a Saturday in July I was expecting the park to be busy and it was, the main parking lot was full. I parked in the equestrian parking lot and walked the outer most trail. I didn’t meet anyone who was walking the trail and I met only 9 equestrians. Most of the trail is in the shade, perfect for a warm summer day.

backpacking
30 days ago

Hiked this on 7/13. Did an overnight camp at lunch counter. Nothing really to add to the reviews already stated but I did want to let people know that the snow melting at lunch counter did create some running water. We weren’t sure and ended up filling up at Morrison Creek and carrying a lot of unneeded weight up to lunch counter. Check in with Forest Ranger when you get the permit to see how high up the running water is.

Other than that, amazing experience and great views. It was almost 100 degrees in Trout Lake, but still only 20-30F with wind chill on summit so make sure to bring layers.

Did it Car to Car, which made for 12.5 hours if hiking. A beautiful hike, yet it was hard for us to find any trail up the snow when the trail ended, and I don't know if we were looking in the wrong spot or if there was no trail at all.

This trail was amazing! We left the Trailhead at noon, arrived at Lunch Counter around 4. Setup camp in a very nice spot to watch a beautiful sunset! The wind was very lite and the sky was gorgeous! We headed for Pikers Peak around 6:30, made it to the summit before noon. The weather was beautiful with a lite wind on the summit. We glissaded most of the way back down to Lunch Counter. We broke camp and made it back to the trailhead around 5:30. Had an amazing hike!

John

walking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail! The waterfall is absolutely beautiful! I’d rate this trail as moderate. Make sure that you have a good pair of hiking boots with a good grip. There’re a several sports that are a bit steep and some of the spots might have smooth, slippery rocks.
Make sure to bring a bug spray.
The hike is not that long but pretty exiting! If you’re still full of energy there’s Ape Canyon trail right next to it with gorgeous views of Mt St Helens.

backpacking
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful trail! Many lakes along the way to wherever you’re headed with gorgeous meadows. My husband and were going to backpack in and stay the weekend but were eaten alive by mosquitos!! We stayed at the lake for about ten minutes and headed out. Guessing September may be the perfect time to come back. Bugs are out in full force mid July!

I hiked Silver Star on July 11, 2018. Unfortunately, the road up to the base parking lot is impassable to anything but a jeep or high-centered, four-wheel drive vehicle, so I and a number of others had to park their cars along the road about three miles below the base parking lot, thus extending the hike by about six miles out and pack.

Once on Ed's and the Silver Star trail, the wildflowers were profuse with glacier lilies, cat's eye lilies, paintbrush, red columbine, penstemon, spirea and others. The bear grass had finished blooming, so only a few remote latecomers could be found. The flower fields were awash with butterflies.

The view of the four volcanoes from the beginning of Ed's trail--St. Helens, Rainier, Adams and Hood--were particularly clear after the rainfall of the previous days.

If I go up next year, I'll probably rent a jeep somewhere like Enterprise

On June 26th we set off at 05:30 for one long day. We made the summit around 12noon. The climb was good and steady. We had crampons for the hard snow and I’m glad. Made the climb easier. The sky was crystal clear, blue and beautiful. The winds were relatively calm. The summit view was absolutely outstanding!!! The glissading was SO fun!!! We did the entire trip in one day. Excellent mountain!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 07/07/18

Fun hike. The south side trail on the river is still closed but the north side of the river is open however somewhat primitive. There are some risky spots with sheer ledges. There is a spot with a 32’ steel ladder to traverse into the bottom of one of the canyons. Might not be good for kiddos but with that said I would have taken mine.

The first part of the trail is all paved and it has a suspension bridge that was fun. This is a loop that is surely easy to navigate. Once you hike off the pavement and onto the dirt trail it gets challenging. Have fun and be careful.

on Lava Canyon Trail

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked Lava Canyon last week 7/3/18. Love this hike! The upper loop is moderate, and safe for most healthy people. If you don't like heights this isn't for you.

Hiking down into the canyon should be rated difficult. There are 90 ft cliffs. People have died in this canyon. There is alot of loose rock which makes narrow stretches slick, and sketchy! A family with small child behind us turned around and left at the first one of those sections. Good idea!

There is a rock formation in the middle of the canyon that people call "The Ship". Climbing it reminds my wife of Hobbits climbing Mt Mordor, so we call it Mordor rock. The view from the top is beautiful. You can look back at the Lava Canyon waterfalls from it. Well worth the climb.

Trail is open, went on the hike on Saturday. Nice small hike and good for family

we started our hike mid-day after checking into the range station the road to the trail head is a nice drive and snow free. I made a video of our hike, it shows conditions and what to expect, you can find it here: https://youtu.be/AZKL70HpL3M
The trail from the trail-head to Lunch Counter was very well marked both with a solid boot pack and with trail markers eventually we ended putting on our crampons for a short steep section and left them on until we arrived at lunch counter, I would say they are recommended but it can be completed without them. We set up camp at lunch Counter right at the base of Pikers Peak. There is still alot of snow at Lunch Counter however there are tons of spots that are snow free. We started our push up Pikers at around 3:30am there was clear skies and the snow was solid. we took our time going up and arrived at the summit around 8:30am. The trail was nice all the way to the base of the true summit where people took there own routes to the summit I would exercise caution in this section. overall It was a great hike with amazing views check out my experience at: https://youtu.be/AZKL70HpL3M

Be safe out there,
NW Adventures

hiking
1 month ago

We only did the upper loop as the lower was still closed fathers day weekend. What a cool area!! The rocks were a little slick for any downhill and that felt sketch. Saw another couple really struggling. Dogs may not be the biggest fan of the suspension bridge. Really quick and easy jaunt though with BIG rewards

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