Lava Canyon Trail

MODERATE 166 reviews

Lava Canyon Trail is a 4.4 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
4.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1062 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

snow

From Vancouver, north on 1-5 to Highway 503, exit 21. Drive east 35 miles to Forest Service Road 83. Turn left and drive 10 miles to the signed trailhead at roads end.

2 days 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.....☠️

12 days ago

hiking
29 days 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.

1 month ago

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

1 month 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.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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!

1 month 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
2 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
2 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.

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

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

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 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
3 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!!

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago