Loowit Falls from Johnson Ridge Trail

HARD 14 reviews

Loowit Falls from Johnson Ridge Trail is a 14.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cougar, Washington that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October.

14.3 miles
2,516 feet
Out & Back



nature trips





wild flowers



no dogs

A hike from The Johnston Ridge Observatory, across the pumice planes, and part way up Mt. Saint Helens to Loowit Falls. A great hike from the Johnston Ridge Observatory, across the pumice planes in the devastated area destroyed in the 1980 eruption, and part of the way up the mountain to beautiful Loowit Falls. Mt. St. Helens is in Washington State. It's about sixty miles off highway five about 70 miles from Porland and about a hundred and fifty miles south of Seattle. It can be reached from the south, the west, and the northwest sides. Once a 9,700 ft cone-shaped stratovolcano, Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980 sending an ash cloud thousands of feet high. the explosion blew off the top and north side of the mountain, and devastated the forests for miles. The mountain is now a national monument and a research site on the re-emergence of a forest from complete annihilation. Thirty years later, moss covers the ground as far as the eye can see, wildflowers bloom as tiny streams weave their way across the plains, and tiny trees and bushes sprout up from the soil in a reminder to us all that life will find a way. The hike to Loowit Falls is an all day hike, 8.5 miles one way! Get started early and bring a headlamp just in case you get back during the evening.

1 month ago

Awesome hike!

2 months ago

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!

2 months ago

Bring lots of water and a water filter

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The maps weren't very clear at all for someone who was new to the trails. We were kind of all over the place so we aren't completely sure how far we went. Must've been about 13-14 miles in/out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It is quite a long hike, with lots of going up and down hills. Quite a work out. Make sure you have plenty of water for the open areas where the sun is beating down on you. Spirit lake is beautiful and the waterfall is pretty cool. The payoff doesn't seem as great as it should be for all the work put into the hike.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Nice hike .. bring lots of water

18 days ago

2 months ago

10 months ago

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Sunday, July 02, 2017