Looking for a great trail in Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington? AllTrails has 25 great hiking trails, trail running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Gearing up for a challenge? There are 10 hard trails in Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument ranging from 8.2 to 26.9 miles and from 2,516 to 8,284 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

views

hiking

wildlife

no dogs

wild flowers

nature trips

forest

bird watching

lake

walking

backpacking

kid friendly

camping

At 8:32 Sunday Morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens Erupted Shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. In a few moments this slab of rock and ice slammed into Spirit Lake, crossed a ridge 1,300 feet high, and roared 14 miles down the Toutle River. The avalanche rapidly released pressurized gases within the volcano. A tremendous lateral explosion ripped through the avalanche and developed into a turbulent, stone-filled wind that swept over ridges and toppled trees. Nearly 150 square miles of forest was blown over or left dead and standing. At the same time a mushroom-shaped column of ash rose thousands of feet skyward and drifted downwind, turning day into night as dark, gray ash fell over eastern Washington and beyond. Wet, cement-like slurries of rock and mud scoured all sides of the volcano. Searing flows of pumice poured from the crater. The eruption lasted 9 hours, but Mount St. Helens and the surrounding landscape were dramatically changed within moments. A vast, gray landscape lay where once the forested slopes of Mount St. Helens grew. In 1982 the President and Congress created the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation, and education. Inside the Monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to the disturbance.

hiking
7 days ago

The lower cave is great for kids! Don’t forget your forest pass. Or $5 cash for day use! Fun short hike

hiking
rocky
8 days ago

hiking
scramble
8 days ago

hiking
no shade
over grown
8 days ago

It's nothing short of awe inspiring to walk through a former volcanic blast zone even nearly 40 years after the fact. Not many hikes in existence can match this one for that fact alone. Understandably you are expected to stay on the trail, which takes away any opportunity for off trail exploration, hence 4 stars instead of 5. Saw some wildlife including a herd of elk grazing in the valley below. Trail conditions are good. There are a couple places where cairns are in place to steer you in the right direction, otherwise it could be easy to veer off the trail. The trail leaves you at a viewpoint maybe 200-300 yards from the actual waterfall with no access without breaking park rules (but please respect the rules!), with a nice unobstructed view. Views of St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Spirit Lake and other miscellaneous peaks can be had at various points along the way. There is a lot of exposure and no water sources, so bring plenty of hydration and sun protection. But also be prepared for sudden and extreme weather changes. It was partly sunny when we started, but just as we left the falls clouds rolled in followed by a severe thunderstorm. Visibility dropped to almost zero and we were treated with plenty of lightning, thunder, rain and hail for the last couple of miles. There is an $8 fee per adult, but a NW Forest Pass will get one adult in "free." Excellent hike, just come prepared.

Edit: Someone found my keys and turned them in. THANK YOU!! if you ever read this. I lost my car keys somewhere along this trail, thinking halfway up the Boundry Trail to Coldwater Peak. The keys have several keys as well as a drum tuning key. If anyone finds them please drop them off at the Observatory on your way out. I'm letting them know tomorrow to be on the lookout. Now my car is another issue. I had to have my wife drive almost 2 hours while I sat in the dark alone in the cold. Not a fun night after hiking nearly 12 miles and falling and getting cut up. Luckily 911 was able to connect up there. Great hike with tons of beauty but put your keys in you bag, not a carabiner attached to your belt like I did.

hiking
11 days ago

Amazing. We did the lower caves. You need a headlamp or flashlight. Just so unique!!

short and sweet. you can't beat the views for a trail you can do with kids

hiking
no shade
11 days ago

Beatiful trail. Relatively easy moderate with nothing tricky. Views are spectacular from beginning to end. Wild flowers still blooming too. Weather was perfect. Sunny with puffy clouds. Glad we got started early because with no shade, it would have not been as enjoyable

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
12 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

plan for sun protection since there is very little-to no shade cover on this trail. definitely worth the hike if you can handle the up-and-down nature of it! stunning views! we saw a herd of elk down below the trail, between us and the mountain, a goat, and lots of chipmunks!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
12 days ago

From NFD 99 take NFD 26 (towards Ryan Lake) and you’ll start the trail at from the Norway Pass parking lot. Be aware that this is NOT near Morton, Washington as the description states. More on the NE side of Mt. St. Helens. This is truly a special trail. The views are unsurpassed and we couldn’t stop talking about the vista views to Mt St. Helens, Mt. Adams and a slight cloud-obstructed view of Mt. Rainier. The huckleberries were everywhere on the trail and were amazingly sweet and juicy...such a treat! We were pretty dusty when we returned to the lot and were happy to find a water pump that had refreshing cold water to clean up with. Highly recommend this hike!

Hiked 8/31/19. No water source on the loop from Ape Canyon Trailhead to mile 15 on the Smith Creek Trailhead! Early on in the hike on the Ape Canyon trail, we encountered mountain bikers who were all very courteous and friendly. The rest of the trail was essentially empty. We hiked to the first Smith Creek crossing at 15.1 miles and camped there. Wildflowers and huckleberries were perfect after the moonscape scenery of the Plains of Abraham. The scenery was exceptionally beautiful and varied. The Lava Canyon portion of the trail was a bit crowded with day hikers but the scenery was worth sharing the trail. Take the Ship Trail detour for a challenging and scenic hike to a vista point. Leave your packs at the fork - it is a climb!

hiking
no shade
13 days ago

awesome views! Added on 4 miles by hiking on Loowit trail and making a loop.

I didn't start at the boat launch, so it was a bit disappointing to finish the hike on the road. However, I would've been wiped out if I ended with the hill. I saw lots of frogs on the way in, and the lake is great. Definitely want to come back with a kayak.

Pretty easy-going for a longer hike, the hill at mile 5 is the biggest challenge but the views at the top of the ridge are worth it! My only gripe is finishing the hike on the road. The shoulder is decently wide so it doesn't feel TOO sketchy.

hiking
13 days ago

Tough trek, not for the faint of heart. The last two miles involved quite a bit of bushwhacking. During the last few miles, Do not try to scramble down to the lakes edge, but stay on top of the ridge (there’s not much of an identifiable trail- it’s very lightly trafficked, if at all) and follow it all the way down. Make sure to have a map with you at all times. It’s really easy to miss the trail a go off course. Make sure you have lots of food and water during the hike- it’s very long with a lot of elevation change. I clocked 20 miles total.

hiking
rocky
15 days ago

hiking
no shade
15 days ago

Really nice and easy to follow trail. Pretty exposed so be sure to bring sun protection. Clouds rolled in by the time I got to the top of the ridge and Mt St. Helens was kinda obscured, which was a tad disappointing, but it was a beautiful hike nonetheless.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
15 days ago

We hiked the trail yesterday started at 7 am, summited at 11. It was raining and windy almost the whole time, but the sun was out for about 30 min when we summit. making it well worth it. The trail is mostly the boulder field, very steep and marked by wooden polls. Once you get past the second observation station you hit the ash field, which is no joke. It's not marked but you can follow the worn foot trail. The way down was significant as well due to no snow (no glissading) along the trail. Overall a great hike, but definitely one to train for, both physically and mentally We did 9.4 miles, took us 7 hrs.

hiking
16 days ago

This trail is an absolute gem! Wildly rugged and beautiful throughout. It offers a real sense of adventure with ropes to descend/ascend creek (dry) beds. Ridge lines with huge exposure and several hundred foot drops. Picturesque views are constant and unlike many/most trails in the PNW. This trail is like being transported out of WA; much of the trail is reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands. The weather and temperature was ideal--not too hot. I left the Climber's Bivouac at 6:30 Saturday morning and went clockwise. I set out with 3 liters of water and probably could have gotten by with only carrying 2. It was good to have the extra liter as a backup but but the extra weight was a bit much. The first and only watercourse on the first part of the trail was about 10.3 miles in at the Toutle. This was a good rest spot to eat, hydrate, and stop up on water for continuing on. Yes, much of the trail is pretty open and exposed to the sun; however, there are a number of spots on the first ~11 miles that are shaded and protected earlier in the day. After crossing the Toutle, you ascend a steep, exposed ridge line and get to nice open stretch of trail that is wide open. If sunny and hot, this could make for tough going. I pushed on for a long day of 20 plus miles and camped near pumice butte. There were a couple water sources between the Toutle and where I camped. A few creeks were quite silty but at least one water drainage offers clean/clear water. There were a lot of goats to be seen--I saw at least 50 goats! None were of bother and mostly up high and no risk to hikers. Sunday morning I left Pumice Butte at around 7:30 back to Climber's Bivouac. This stretch was interesting--many ups-and-downs through gullies and somewhat sketchy parts of the trail. There were a couple silty water streams early on but be prepared to push to June Lake Trail before you encounter water again. From here you can descend to to lake for water, if needed. This last 5 miles is tough! Boulder fields in the open sun and a punishing climb before reaching the Ptarmigan trail. I was back at the Climber's Bivouac at 12:05. I would absolutely recommend this trail to anyone that has an adventurous spirit and comfort with trails that are not perfectly manicured and defined.

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