Explore the most popular hiking 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.

hiking
15 hours 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!

This hike is certainly not an easy one but boy it’s worth the grind.
The boulders do go on forever and right when you can see the summit and feel as if it’s within reach, then comes the ash scree! The last 200-300ft are the hardest in my mind.
But once you reach the summit, the pain will be worth it. Along the trail up, there are gorgeous views of Mt Adams and Mt Hood too. Will do it again!

it was hard but definitely worth the view.

hiking
1 day ago

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

We did the loop and the only negative I found was having to walk along the street to get back to our car and that is why I gave it 4 stars instead w 5.

Grueling trek. Boulder fields seem to go on forever, and the final uphill over the loose ash is harsh and you'll doubt your ability to reach the top. Once you get there the views are amazing.

If you’re doing this hike in the summer (as we did), bring at least 3 liters of water- it is hot and dusty all the way to the summit. After you pass the tree line (2miles), the terrain is very rocky so bring gloves - you will spend ~ 2 miles scrambling over boulders. The last part is the hardest to go up - an incline of loose ash for about a mile. The view from the top is nice, but in the summer everything is brown and dry looking, and the sky can be hazy. Took us about 10 hours with several nature pee and snack breaks. Bring water, sunscreen, layers, gloves, boots, and poles.

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
2 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!

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.

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

hiking
5 days ago

hard upper caves. but worth it

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

This is a hearty hike with spectacular views of Mt. St. Helens (only when you are up on the ridge) and of Coldwater Lake. I went counter-clockwise so did the elevation gain at the beginning. The view from the top of the ridge is wonderful and well worth the hard work to get there. As others have described the downhill portion is a bit overgrown, so hard to see your way and there are not any views because of the dense overgrowth.

The relatively flat north side of the lake is nice - and being rewarded with lake views now and then is a nice reward after the long descent from the ridge. I found a great lunch spot with about 5 km to go in the hike - with nice views, a cool breeze and some kayakers to watch. The only reason this hike doesn't get 5 stars is because of the mile or so that you have to walk on the highway. Not much of a shoulder on the blind curves - be careful. However you get some amazing views of Mt. St. Helens and the inside of the crater which takes a bit of the sting away. No mosquito's when I went in early August. I clocked in at 19.7 km.

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.

Unmatched views of St.Helens. This trail is very long and completely open. Recommend bringing a hat and sunglasses or the sun will wear you down.

Nice views but we only had time for the observatory and the short hike and it cost $8/ person for a green wrist band. Make sure to get your money's worth if you go, skip this and hit the other areas of the park-

hiking
19 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.

19 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.

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!

Went up on the 17th and it was amazing

Excellent hike, I’ve been here 3 times but have only done the full loop once. I walk every day and have a lot of stamina but this hike was tough (at first, as I was ploughing through the hills!)

I suggest starting at the first parking lot (main entrance) and walking out to the main road and following it up to the second entrance. You have to walk on the road anyways for about a mile and I’d prefer to end my trip in the wild than on the road.

I agree not really a trail but the views were great of the mountain and the way nature has reclaimed the land after the volcano erupted. Forty years of progress is pretty amazing.

Simply OUTSTANDING trail. Great views in AWESOME weather. Fantastic trail for a single-day trek.

hiking
26 days ago

We did the upper level and it was very interesting with climbing over boulders, up walls, and through tight spaces. Definitely wear layers as it's very cold in the caves (you can see your breath). Hiking boots and headlamps are a must. You will need your hands for climbing. Wished I would have had some gloves. Overall, a fun hike that was challenging but not too strenuous.

We did upper Ape cave using our cell phone flashlights (put your phone in airplane mode so your battery lasts). Really fun! Lots of bouldering and fun trying to figure out which path to take thru the rocks. The 8 foot wall wasn’t too difficult even without a rope. My husband helped us by giving us an extra foot hold - helped! Hike is not for those who have only walked on flat, 3 mile trails in flip flops haha! Absolutely wear hiking boots and enjoy!

hiking
27 days 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.

Awesome !!!! Lower caves get lame because of the crowds but still cool! We did upper and was less crowded and more adventurous. We brought our 7 year old and she did great!. UPPER CAVE IS NOT HARD! Group sizes (10+) were the only problem. If u hike here in WA often u will be fine! Some boulder scrambling and balance is all that is needed! Pro tip: bring head lamps and gloves... ur welcome! Those who rate this 3 stars or below simply do not belong here. Enjoy! Please remember that this isn’t a factory outlet!

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