Explore the most popular camping trails in Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

started the trail late than we wanted to, so we were racing against the sun. trail is pretty scenic and you get different views of your surroundings the higher you go — spirit lake, mt adam, mt rainier. saw two deer throughout the whole hike.

we took a wrong turn and made a left at the split towards the top of the trail. there was signage (from 2017) saying that the trail to the right was closed because of washouts, but we should’ve ignored it and continued on to get the full view of mount st. helens. the trail we took (to the left) sort of just... ends — with only a partial view of mount st. helens.

i’d go back to explore trail right next time i’m in the PNW

hiking
6 days ago

Perfect hiking conditions—70 degrees, no wind and almost no one on the mountain on a Monday morning. Leaves are changing colors and amazing views the whole way. Easy drive from PDX, took about an hour after crossing in to Washington. I’d rate the trail moderate only for length—it was never steep or difficult terrain. My only negative on this trail is it is a dry trail, so be sure to bring enough water for you and the dogs. You’re in the woods for all but the last mile, so you don’t have to worry too much about being overexposed to the sun.

I loved these views!! Went yesterday and arrived at 3pm and made it to the campsites by 430 or so. It’s an easy hike that goes through tons of beautiful fall foliage, and at this time all the leaves are smelling and crisp and like autumn rain! The sun was out and I got amazing views of Spirit Lake, St. helens, Rainier, Adams, and Mt Hood. It was crazy!!! Wish I could’ve made it to the top. Planned to camp there and completely forgot drinking water and discovered it was a dry trail. Had to turn around once I ran out. So pack a ton of water, and wear sunscreen! I’m definitely coming back to this hike. I loved that we didn’t go through many trees, because that meant open sky and views pretty much the whole way. I used directions from the WTA website and they helped so much. There’s a lot of junctions and sometimes it can be confusing. Print something out beforehand and make sure you know where you’re headed.
Forest roads along the way were paved for the most part with some random yet kinda common cracks and potholes. like really bad ones. They’re not gravel roads, but it looks like the road split in half, maybe due to the eruption of St. helens? Some of the paved roads are cracked and caved in so just drive slow. All vehicles should be good.

hiking
1 month ago

Wonderful hike. Some bugs but not unbearable. We arrived early and didn’t see many other hikers until we were close to the car. There was a nice little stream that we ate lunch at and soaked out feet in at the very top of the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is one of my new favorites. Started up early and foot/bike traffic was light, but as the day wore on it got heavier - especially the mountain bikes. All the riders were super conscientious and polite though so sharing the trail was fine. I do have to say though, it’s a bit nerve wracking on the hike down to be keeping your ears open for bikes speeding up behind you.

Most of the hike is in the trees (beautiful old growth timber) on a ridge with some views of Mts. Hood, Adams and Rainier. There are also good views of the lahar. At the top where the trail meets with the Loowit Trail you are blessed with fantastic views of all four peaks. It’s just awesome. Still quite a few wildflowers blooming, even in September.

We got back to our car at about 2:00 and the parking was ridiculous. People were parked all up and down the road. Be aware if go, especially on the weekend.

hiking
1 month ago

So beautiful and peaceful! The perfect length and difficulty. If you go on a cloudy day be prepared to not see Mt. Saint Helens in all its glory.

Coming from NF-99, the road was washed out. There were at least 5 trees fallen on the road about 4 miles from the trail head. I think people have accessed from Rd-26, but we decided to try for another trail and came across another road that was closed for construction.

hiking
2 months 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.

Hiked July 26: this one has it all: abundant wildflowers, steady inclines, patches of snow, creeks to cool off in, wild huckleberries, raspberries and strawberries. Breathtaking and astounding views. Very well marked trails, easy access to TH. Well worth the 3 hour drive!

hiking
3 months ago

It's definitely not 'hard' as the description would indicate, as the inclines are manageable, and it's not too long. That said, it is definitely buggy, and you should plan to be harassed by the bugs for your entire time in the trees. It's a gorgeous trail though, and one I'd recommend for sure. Btw...I just read some of the other reviews from the last day or two. the bugs aren't as bad as the others let on. I mean...you're out in the woods...sheesh. Wear some sleeves and a hat and you'll be fine. I don't ever wear bugspray and didn't have many bites.

Also - note that this trail gets a LOT of MTB traffic. Plan accordingly for that if you're going to head up it. I personally start early in the morning so I get all of the bikes on their way up. If you catch them all headed downhill I could see this being pretty sketchy.

hiking
3 months ago

Went on a Wednesday and only passed a few hikers and bikers. The bugs we're out but as long as I was moving and had my windbreaker zipped up they we're tolerable. (but literally no stopping allowed) once you get out of the trees (~4miles) the bugs are gone and there are wide open plains to walk through with spectacular mountain views. around mile 5 the trail intersects the loowit River trail. I believe you are "supposed" to take the right fork as far as you want. There is a good stopping place around 5.25 miles but I wanted to make it an even 6 so I continued on through the planes. the incline was very mild and even though you climb quite a bit, it is spread out evenly through the whole hike so it is never too much of an ass burner! I could do without the bugs but all in all and great hike. (finished 12 miles in 4.5 hours- a PR for me!)

hiking
3 months ago

I wanted so bad to enjoy this hike, but the bugs were completely unbearable. We made it a little over halfway, but anytime we stopped along the trail to let mountain bikes pass, or take a water break, our bodies were covered head to toe in what appeared to be flies. They would not let up. I was fully covered, and still, my ears and face were covered in bugs.There was no serenity to this hike at all whatsoever.
If you’re thinking you’re prepared for bugs, think again. We got to the point we were spraying bug spray as we walked. We doused ourselves in spray prior to the hike, and had little OFF fans. Still, nothing. I envy anyone that could get past these critters.

hiking
3 months ago

BUGS... BUGS... BUGS... BUGS. Terrible bugs - despite all of us using spray and wrist bands - didn't matter. Would be a nice hike to try when the bugs are off season (when is that?).

hiking
3 months ago

Just did this trail for the first time on 7/7/18 and we thought we were prepared for the clouds of angry bugs... We weren't. But once you get up out of the woods they thin out to mostly just chill honey bees just doing their thing with the wildflowers. Bring a jacket in case it's pretty windy up top.

Awesome hike. Probably my favorite to date.

hiking
3 months ago

This might be my new favorite hike ever. St. Helens is gorgeous. It is a gradual incline I would say for the most part. We encountered two mountain goats! Not busy at all. I would definitely do this again!!!

hiking
3 months ago

We've done a few hikes around Mt. St. Helen's before and this had the best views. A bit longer than Lava Canyon, but well worth being right underneath the mountain at the end.

mountain biking
4 months ago

I have hiked and biked this trail many times and it is still one of my all time favorites. There are not many places in the world where you can hike into a recent volcanic blast zone and this one is in my back yard. The views are out of this world.

Honestly one of the best hikes I’ve done in the PNW. Stunning views not too crowded and the trail is in great condition. Would rate this as Moderate and not hard

nature trips
4 months ago

5 miles up, 5 down. It’s a nice smooth trail but lots of incline so be ready to work hard. Bring bug spray and a bug zapper as the mosquitoes are bad. Gorgeous views the higher you go, and at the top you will be blown away by the views. You can even continue onto more trails if you want and feel like you’re actually climbing on to the mountain.

on Ape Canyon Trail

hiking
4 months ago

Must do hike!!!

hiking
11 months ago

Hiked on 10/31/17. Saw a mountain goat.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A great challenge

Sunday, October 15, 2017

So pretty! But the difficulty rate should be moderate, not "hard".

We really enjoyed this hike. See my recording for more details.

Truly breathtaking

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fun hike, really not difficult except if you aren't used to the distance. Not steep, trail good..more of a moderate imo. The views are awesome!

on Ape Canyon Trail

hiking
Sunday, July 02, 2017

LOTS of mosquitos and flies. It's uphill most of the way but overall a good hike! The views are awesome. Go early if you want parking nearby.

hiking
Friday, June 30, 2017

A new favorite for me! Bring bug spray!

camping
Thursday, December 29, 2016

I had the best time there

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