Lava Canyon Trail

MODERATE 161 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
1263 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.

3 minutes ago

hiking
1 day 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 days 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
11 days 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
11 days 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
14 days ago

25 days ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

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hiking
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1 month 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
1 month ago

hiking
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hiking
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