Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

Did this two and a half day hike several years ago in August. It can be completed quicker but why? Very hot but wandering in and out of the evergreen forests made for mostly pleasant times Several cold water springs are spaced out just right. Wildlife and scenery every day makes it very interesting. The mouth of the volcano is breathtaking. Trails are well marked on this moderate hiking experience. Take a side route to Johnson’s Ridge and the national monument to learn about the pre, active, and post activity the Mountain put on display. RIP Harry Truman on this mountain of adventure.

Surreal to the see the crater and great views from the summit! The hike honestly wasn’t as bad as anticipated (we hike regularly and had been training) until the ash hill, which was grueling. We attempted to glissade down to by-pass the boulder fields, but the snow wasn’t cooperating. Leave early to beat the heat and crowds and make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen.

hiking
3 days 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.

Not a stroll in the park but surprisingly easier than I’d anticipated. The last bit through the ash field felt like it was never going to end but this was the only time my achilles were barking at me. The view up top was totally worth it as was the brief glissade down. We started out at dawn and had perfect sunny but cool weather until our descent. I’m so glad we did this hike!

hiking
3 days 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?).

4 days ago

beautiful view of the lake.

I ran this trail on Monday although we went clockwise and started/ended in the north parking lot. The trail was in nice condition and the scenery was amazing with my favorite area being on the north side looking down on the lake. The elevation climb on the southeast side was tough turning it into more of a hike for me during that portion but it made the last downhill portion back to the car a reward. Even though the last bit is on the highway it didn't take long and the shoulder is plenty wide to avoid becoming road pizza. Total distance came in at about 11.83 miles with 2,178' of elevation gain according to my device.

hiking
5 days 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.

Wow what an experience... when you finally get to the top, it feels as though you are on top of the word... the colors looking down into the volcano, cameras can’t capture how awesome and beautiful it is...we had the top all to ourselves for about 20 minutes and could hear glaciers falling. I am looking forward to going again. The last .7 miles to the top was the hardest, literally one step at a time, with the top taunting you to hurry up and get there

Pretty drive with a couple pull off areas for viewpoints. Great for all seasons when the roads aren't closed. Watch out for critters when driving at night.

hiking
6 days ago

Definitely a tough one. As bad coming down as up. Two miles of easy trail, then 2.5 of climbing around or through boulders, and then 1.5 of ash and gravel. Don’t start late in the day. Probably about 9 hours for most people.

Really incredible views, so much more impressive than you'd think.

Did this hike a few weeks ago with a family member. Was our longest day hike to date at 15 miles. I wouldn't say the hike is strenuous, the elevation gain is gradual. The length of the hike can be difficult though and we were definitely tired at the end of the day. We were lucky that the day started out foggy and rainy so the heat was not a factor until the end of the day. Temps at the falls were chilly, we had to put on layers to sit and enjoy our lunch. There were mountain goats to right of the falls. Trail was mostly empty, except a few backpackers tackling the Loowit Trail, since Windy Ridge was not open yet. Make sure to bring plenty of water. There are several creek crossings about halfway to the falls to collect water from if you choose. There was some new signage in the first few miles from Johnston Ridge. Might be best to double check your route with forest service or volunteer if you aren't familiar with the area. I highly recommend this hike! What a treat to be able to say that you ate your lunch at the base of a glacier which is the entrance to the crater of an active volcano! The entire hike back to Johnston Ridge you will continuously look behind you, staring at the mountain and how far you have come. It is surreal. It really does blow your mind!

I am a new hiker with few skills. This was the first time I have ever hiked at any type of elevation or had to bring in water and food...I even brought in a change of clothes just in case so my bag was kinda full. all that being said, I found the first part very steep. I had to stop many times for a break but after that first mile or so it really gets easier. There was also a long section where there were bugs everywhere so I would recommend bug repellent of some sort. It was so beautiful and I'm glad I went. the trail was really easy to follow and the sketchiest part of the hike was the last half mile on the road. Because of the time of year there were several groups if hikers on these trails. There is a bathroom at a lake access point towards the last fourth of the hike if you don't like going outside.

Incredible views above the clouds, did in 2015. Highly recommended. Plenty of camping areas, stayed near cougar...expect a long and punishing hike because of the terrain. It is no joke, but no words can describe the view from the rim.

hiking
9 days 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!!!

The dust and ash through the "restricted zone" was quite aggravating to breathe, especially over an extended amount of time. The trail itself is not very demanding, with elevation gain and loss mostly through the "restricted zone". Be wary of filtering water through streams in and near the "restricted zone" as they are loaded with silt. We filtered water through a clear-looking stream and our filter had a fair amount of silt in it afterwards and required back-flushing.

hiking
10 days ago

Well maintained trail, beautiful views everywhere.

Was a beautiful trail. The machinery was cool to investigate. Used trekking poles and was very manageable for even the novice hiker.

Hiked a few weeks back thought I might share a video I made about my experience. Hope you enjoy: https://youtu.be/QN-UbQnBEqQ

Be safe out there,
NW Adventures

Nice farily easy hike around the lake. We parked at the lot and went counter clockwise to get the highway part of the hike out of the way first which was nice. Very well maintained trail.

hiking
14 days 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.

Great hike! Slow and steady will get you to the top. Coming down. No need for crampons. I'd recommend bringing an ice axe and some lower half protection to glissade down. Also, follow your GPS or map rather than the young scouts in your party just going where they think they need to go, you won't end up farther away from the main trail like we did. Face/eye protection from the blowing ash is critical. And Sunblock! The boy who didn't lather it on came down as red as a lobster.

I like the view of MSH and surrounding area, the incredible wild flowers, and the diverse elevation. The late June weather was ideal. It was crowded but not in an annoying way. We saw a mountain goat at the top in the distance.

There are some real pluses and minuses to this trail. Lots of people at beginning since it takes off from the main parking lot of Johnston Ridge Observatory. Easy to get there so no problems with rough roads. First 3 miles had some great views of Mount St. Helens with awesome display of wildflower colors. After cut off to Harry’s Ridge, definitely less people. A couple of minor sketchy areas that just require good balance and poles around the Hole in the Wall. Great views from the top of Coldwater Peak but spoiled somewhat by the equipment up there I presume aimed at St Helen’s Crater for monitoring. Take plenty of water for mostly exposed hiking and bring your NW pass for $ off on hiking and parking.

Bring lots of water and a water filter

Wonderful hike to the summit on 6/24. Still snow in the valleys to glissade down about 1500 feet. Loved it!

hiking
22 days ago

Starting at the end of Hwy99 to the Windy Ridge, take the Smith Creek Trail staircase up to the Harmony Lake Viewpoint area for Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake, with a 360 view of the surrounding mountains, including Mt. Rainier in the distance. Awesome scenery.

Great drive along Hwy 504 with anticipation as Mt. St. Helens was "smokin" and there had been a 3.1 magnitude earthquake the day before. Can even see it from the Silver Lake VC early down the road. Really nice scenery along the way, with evidence of the eruption. Don't forget to visit both sides, Windy Ridge (Hwy 99) and Johnston Ridge and watch the video at the VC.

Lots of fun. Bring snow pants or a garbage bag for the glissading.

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