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Fossil Trail is a 7.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Toutle, Washington that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking.

Length 7.1 mi Elevation gain 2,411 ft Route type Loop
Hiking Forest Views Snow No dogs
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (28)
Photos (23)
Recordings (21)
Completed (36)
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Matthew Craig
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Backpacking

Fine trail. It is very quiet out there - we hardly passed anyone either direction. Only a couple spots where you get a view of anything that’s around you - you can sort of see mount Saint helens at one point. You are basically right on the mountain but the tree cover is thick enough that you can’t really see it. Also at the end of the listed route, it looks like on the all trails map that you’ll be in or close to a level meadow/marsh area, but you aren’t. It’s thick woods the whole way, with a really limited amount of flat area. I point this out because we went out to stay overnight and finding a really decent area to set up was a challenge. The woods are thick and the ground is covered with foliage or logs and branches or any combination of those. We cleared a little area eventually to set up but it wasn’t ideal. I’m sure it’s possible to find a great spot but definitely took us a bit of time looking. Also while on the subject of all trails, I’ve had the next couple issues with other hikes on this app as well: 1. the trail is listed as a loop. It is definitely an out and back trail. Sure, you could loop it if you keep going and establish your own route, but the listed route here is an out and back trail. Also, 2. whatever technology all trails is using to track mileage is off. It has this trail listed at around 7 miles total. We recorded almost 6 miles each way (5.9). Much closer to a 12 mile hike out and back, not 7. Also the hills here are killer, pretty steep and loose in areas.

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Benjamin Rietmann
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Hiking

Nice nature walk - tree cover keeps you shaded. There’s not really many places where you can see the surrounding landscape through the trees. Steep at the beginning but then it levels off. We turned around where the newly built bridge crosses the creek, which is the end of the trail described here (although you can keep going if you want). Didn’t see anyone else on the trail the whole day.

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Jake Reichardt
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Hiking

This is a great trail if you're looking for solitude in a beautiful forest setting. We didn't pass any other hikers the whole trip. We wanted a longer hike, so followed directions for a loop from another website with mixed results. The first part was this trail as listed. The second part was on an old road, pretty boring except the frequent cougar scat we passed. There was a river crossing but luckily there was a plank in place to walk across. The third part of the loop was nice again, following the Blue Lake horse trail. Then we got short on time and so the last part of the loop was walking on the edge of the paved road. We clocked 13 miles for our loop.

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Ryan Gurney
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Snow on the last several miles of the road. If you have the clearance and 4 wheel drive you could have made it but my sedan couldn't. Looked like a beautiful area.

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Freeman York
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HikingRocky

Pretty decent trail. First mile or so once you really start climbing is pretty steep. Could tell it is used by horse, and it starts at Kalama Horse Campground, upper lot. Good shade to keep from getting to warm while on the hike. Few spots of direct sun.

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Casey Callahan
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Backpacking

Great trail to spend as part of a 3 day hike

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Roderick Hooker
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Hiking

Fossil Trail 242: Gifford Pinchot Forest 13 August 2018 This is an overlooked hiker trail I can recommend – moderate difficulty for the first mile then easier. Well traveled by horses but no shoe prints or bike tracks today. With the temperature in the mid-90s this August hike was 95% in the cool shade of a moderate growth forest. The trail starts in the north end of the Kalama Horse camp – walk 100 yards and cross the FR 81 to the trail signpost. Begin at 2,200’ elevation. The first quarter-mile is relatively flat then joins an old caterpillar track and ascends 30° for a mile with a couple switchbacks – this is the steepest part of the whole trail. The second mile is easier at a 10° ascent and by mile 3 is level at 3500’ (highest elevation). On the ascent and right side of the trail looms Goat Mountain (4,965 feet tall). It is NE of the trail and viewed from time to time through the trees. Essentially the trail follows The Fossil Creek Valley and contours around the western slope of Goat Mountain. There are no trails marked on the map for a Goat Mountain climb. Along the way the only opening in the forest are four avalanche chutes – easily traversed. At mile 3.3 the trail enters the Mount Saint Helens Monument boundary and follows it in and out for a mile. It is here the trail descends to Goat Marsh Creek – the only water source. On this part of the trail, now traveling east, a few glimpses of MSH can be seen. The trail eventually joins up with Road 8123 and ends south of Blue Lake where the Blue Lake Trail and Toutle Trail can be accessed leading back to the Kalama Horse Camp; a 14-mile loop. The quality of the forest makes this hike. Patches of moderate and old growth Nobel & Hemlock Fir, and Western Red Cedar marks this as a mature mixed forest. Many large trees are >4’ DBH and a couple >6’. The tread is entirely ash/pumice and in many places the trail needs brushing, berms knocked down, the trail widened, and limbs trimmed. Long pants and hiking poles are recommended. No ticks. Wildlife: abundant bear and coyote scat, along with elk droppings. A report on this trail by Tom Paulu Oct 2, 2014 (The Daily News) says the Forest Service opened the trail in 2003 and it was built by Backcountry Horsemen of Washington.

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Northwest Predator Hunter
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Hiking
First to Review

Excellent forest walk. Unfortunately the snow level is still keeping this trail from being fully hiked. Made it to around 3000 feet and had to turn back.We will be back.

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Matthew Craig
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Hiking
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Matthew Craig
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Mike Haas
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Hiking
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Doug Campbell
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Don McCoy
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Tracy Podzimek
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Hiking
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Erin McCart
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Hiking
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Jeremy D.
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Hiking
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Jennifer Williams
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Hiking
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Angela Schaefer
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Hiking
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Keith Gold
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Hiking
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Leilani Lamoreaux
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Hiking
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Craig Smith
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Hiking
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Bryony Melcher
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Cheri U
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Mary Ann Pastene
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Hiking
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Caden Gardner
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Hiking
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Illya Kray
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Cody Stavig
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Jason Carpenter
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