Lava Canyon Trail

MODERATE 163 reviews

Lava Canyon Trail is a 5.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cougar, Washington that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1299 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

snow

washed out

Beautiful views. Part of the trail is washed out, hopefully will be repaired soon.

1 month ago

Went 1/12/18 Road is currently closed

2 months ago

Beautiful fall day hike! Would’ve given this trip 5 stars had we been able to do the full hike, but like others have indicated, the Smith Creek portion had been washed out. What we did hike though was amazing. The trail was rocky, wet and slick on some portions of the cliff side. Take your time! You most certainly DO NOT want to slip! Doing so will either give you a good scare or.....☠️

hiking
3 months ago

Everything looks artificial and hand crafted like a smooth playground made for water. I would even go as far as saying this was the Disney Land Water Park of trails. Every time I walked to the next zone of the trail it was completely different than the last, like 5 mini hikes in one. Waterfalls, a quarter million dollar suspension foot bridge. PNW does not mess around when it comes to their trails.

3 months ago

We made it out in the snow today. Absolutely amazing.

3 months ago

Visited 10/27/17. A must see! The loop is great! The bridge is amazing! The weather was perfect on this day 70 with blue sky and sunshine.
We attempted to do the longer hike after the bridge, but it was too dangerous. Very narrow, steep, wet and steep drop offs. If you slip, it could be very bad. We turned around after about ⅛ mile.

hiking
4 months ago

This place was absolutely gorgeous! Beautiful fall views. I have no complaints at all. It can be slick during rainy season, so good hiking shoes are recommended. I'll definitely be going back!

4 months ago

Did the full trail a couple weeks ago, and it was a great day, with some fun challenges Make sure you do your homework and know what you’re getting into before you hike (and if you go unprepared, please don’t post a bad review!).

backpacking
4 months ago

We only did the loop to the suspension bridge and back to the parking lot as we had young kids with us, but would love to do the longer trail. Beautiful day to do a little hike with the family and see the beautiful waterfall.

hiking
4 months ago

Arrived at the trailhead about 9 am this morning. Maybe 8 cars in the parking lot. Day was overcast, no rain. Vault potties. NW Forest Pass or American the Beautiful pass required. Pay station at the trailhead. Almost to the first observation deck, signage warning to stay on trail, fatalities have occurred. First part of the trail was paved, down to observation deck. Very accessible to all. You can cross the first bridge and hike around the canyon to the suspension bridge. Or you can stay on the one side and hike to the suspension bridge. We did the first option. Trail was a little rocky, but very well marked. Signage all over to stay on the trail. One set of metal "stairs" or ladder down the trail a little ways. Then the suspension bridge. Very cool. Trail for the difficult part of the trail is on the other side of the bridge (same side as the parking lot) Just to one side of the suspension bridge, goes down with a sign that the trail is most difficult. Trail is very narrow and rocky. A little wet, but we took our time. Beautiful views!! Had to stop several times just to enjoy it. Ladder down was a little scary, but doable. Plan was to walk a loop taking the Smith Creek Trail. Read a prior report that maybe the trail was washed out. US Forest Service employee cleaning when we arrived, said he believed the trail was open. It was not. Lower Smith Creek Trail had a tree blocking the trail about 30 yards up the trail from the bridge. A couple of gals with us went to check it out. There was also a washout just on the other side of the tree. Decided to turn around a return the way we came. What was easy going down was more work going up. lol If you are nervous of heights, this trail is totally doable, just take your time.

Very beautiful. Trail is steep and slick in spots. The bridges are really cool. The falls are so beautiful.

hiking
5 months ago

Good views of waterfalls. The more difficult trail is very steep. Do not recommend for novice hikers or kids. You do have to pay to park or have a specific vehicle pass. Very well marked off.

hiking
5 months ago

We did Lower Smith Creek trailhead to Lava Canyon which is 6.5 miles. The Lower Smith Creek is all washed out eek! this is a TOUGH hike. Lots of steep elevation gain and crazy cliffs. I had fun. Suspension bridge is amazing!!

5 months ago

The short loop portion of the hike was ok, although it's a long drive for a short hike. BUT I really wasn't too thrilled with the longer more difficult hike option due to the steep descent and the narrow path next to a sheer cliff. It was humbling and I had to turn back. Good to know before you go. If heights are an issue for you, this isn't a good hike.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike, moderate with steep decline, do not recommend for kids. Narrow ledge at times. Views of waterfalls.

6 months ago

if you are complaining about not getting good views, you didn't go far enough. The best shots can be taken on the steep and more difficult trail, I would not recommend it for kids.

6 months ago

We expected some great hiking and views but were quite disappointed after doing this hike.

hiking
6 months ago

Got there early to avoid the crowds- totally nailed that. The hike is confusing at first, not much signage for directions when you cross the suspension bridge. We decided to take the "most difficult" trail to the right and had no idea where we were going. We ended asking others. My advice is to hike down that steep path, go down the cool steep ladder then cross the little bridge then turn back. The rest of the hike is washed out. If you are scared of heights, this may not be the trail you want to take. Take your time if you're out of shape and you'll have a good time, it's super steep and navigating up rocks.

6 months ago

perfect for what we wanted out of a hike.

hiking
6 months ago

The trail to Lower Smith Creek trail is washed out after the 3rd bridge. The hike is easy on the way out (mostly downhill), so that makes it harder the way back. The loose gravel and narrow path along the ridge, as well as the slippery creek with a drop off you have to cross, makes it a little sketchy. No views of the mountain on the trail, but the lava rock, multiple waterfalls and bridges make it worth doing once.

6 months ago

trail is really overrated but nice easy hike

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