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Loowit Falls Trail is a 8.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Cougar, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Length 8.1 mi Elevation gain 1,171 ft Route type Out & Back

Backpacking

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (3)

The first part is a walk along a forest road (closed to the public) to the actual trail. It is worth taking a stop at the recording station just a little way in to read the plaque and appreciate the view. Upon reaching the trail, you cross what looks like a dry riverbed, and round a shady bend with a lovely small patch of forest. From there you start up the actual debris flow, and the view just never stops being breathtaking. It looks deceptively easy from here, but make no mistake, you are constantly dipping in and out of runoff channels, and many of these dip are more of a scramble than a hike. About 3/4 of the way in, you'll come to a small creek surrounded by trees, but do not stop just yet. You can hear the much larger creek coming from the spring just a few feet down the trail, and this is where you want to stop and rest. This is truly a little oasis. You can see the water erupting from nothing, and the water here is incredibly cool, clean, and refreshing. There are lots of boulders to sit on. From here, it's a short hike to the fork up to the falls. The trail up to the falls viewpoint is not particularly steep, but much of it is just waking on volcanic debris, and it is harder than it looks. The end of the trail is marked by a large rock pile, and the view of the falls from here, as well as the surrounding gorge are unforgettable. You also have views of the top of Mt Rainier, and Johnston ridge from here. The walk back down to the main trail is much easier, and there is the chance of spotting mountain goats. The rest of the return trip is really not much easier than the trip in, because you still are dipping in and out of runoff channels. That said, you are facing spirit lake, and the views continue to boggle the mind. Mount Adams is your constant companion for the last segments of the hike, and taking the time to appreciate the geologic history laid bare in the naked rocks is a great way to kill time. Along the road for the last couple of miles, you can see layers of pumice from multiple eruptions over the centuries, and, and the spectacular colors of the rock comprising the surrounding valleys.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (78)
Photos (418)
Recordings (51)
Completed (153)
Curvie Hawkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jul 06 2020
Hiking

Hiked a portion of Windy Ridge from Windy Ridge Trail Head to Windy Pass via route towards Loowit Falls. It was a beautiful sunny day with Mt Adams and Mt Hood seen in the distance - great picture opportunities. Also, saw a flock of mountain goats with some active baby goats frolicking on the side of Mt St Helen. Windy conditions, hence the name, and not much shade but temperature was cool enough to make direct sunlight welcomed. On my return trip about sunset there were lots of flying bugs buzzing along trail but not biting on last 1/4 mile near parking. They looked like mosquitos, but likely weren’t as they didn’t attack me.

View Curvie's Recording
Todd Daniels
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 03 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky
View Todd's Recording
William Langevin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jun 27 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike! The road leading to the trail head is a bit rough on the left side which was a challenge on the drive back. You hike about two miles along a pretty wide path along a ridge and down to the valley. We passed by a couple through hikers who rocked the classic mountain man look! The valley featured crazy winds and required a bit of scrambling. I recommend bringing a wind breaker for sure! The falls were a tad anticlimactic but still very beautiful! We got caught in a dust storm on the way back so I recommend bringing sunglasses to save your eyes! Excited to explore the upper trail in the near future.

View William's Recording
Heidi Hicks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 27 2020
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

**Forest road 99 to the Windy Ridge parking lot was open as of Monday June 22** (NO bathrooms were open at any trailhead or overlook area on the Northeast side of St. Helens Monday, but upon returning Thursday the Windy ridge bathrooms were open). Attempted this trail on Monday morning around 10am but ended up taking the Abraham trail on accident! I was literally the only person on the Northeast side of St Helens that morning. Did not pass a single vehicle for 2 hours driving up, no cars in any parking lot, only passed one mountain biker and a ranger on the forest road you have to hike to get to the trailheads. When I got back to the parking lot around 1pm there was another car pulling up. I returned Thursday morning at 9am to try again and there were 5 other cars in the windy ridge lot at that point. Still not crowded by any means but I guess I got spoiled having the whole place to myself Monday! Ok so for the actual hike. The description of this hike is pretty accurate. You have to park at Windy ridge and walk an easy 2 miles on a forest road to get to the actual trail heads. I am not sure if they ever open the gate to this section of road or if it’s just for USGS workers. I kind of wish I had my bike - while the walk was easy and had spectacular views, would have been nice to bike it and focus the actual hiking time to the trails. However there would not be anywhere to chain your bike up while you hike so probably not the best idea. Be sure when you get towards the end of the forest road to continue ALL THE WAY down the road till it dead ends and DO NOT take the trail that forks off to the left and goes uphill just before the end of the road. This is the Abraham trail. I made that mistake Monday, and while there is a way to loop around and still make it to the falls this way, it’s a longer and more difficult hike. There is ZERO shade on this hike. I got a pretty severe sunburn on some areas that I missed with sunscreen and mild sunburn on the areas I did apply sunscreen - twice. I am pretty out of shape and would say that there weren’t any parts of the trail that were terribly strenuous or got me winded. You dip through several dry washes, some have a tiny little stream going through but easily crossed and nothing that should get your feet wet. Most aren’t too steep or difficult to get through. The only wash I had a bit of trouble on was the second one you come to. Going down was fine, but going back up the other side was tricky. The path most people appear to have taken was pretty much straight up the steep side of the wash and it’s just loose sandy gravel. It’s only about 10 feet high and in the wash so if you slide back down while trying to climb up it’s not like you will fall off a cliff or anything lol. On the return trip however, even with the use of a pole I couldn’t find any way down. Took one step and started to slide so I just sat down and slid down the slope on my rear - Hahahaha. Not sure how other hikers have done it, perhaps there is an easier way I didn’t see. Some of the other washes feature nice large boulders you can climb on to get down and up which was fun and not challenging at all. Much easier climbing on boulders than loose gravel! I didn’t have much trouble following the trail, but if you do lose it the first part of the trail has wooden poles periodically to help mark the way and on the sections closer to the falls look for cairns. Overall, this was a fantastic hike with incredible views and lots of interesting terrain. Mount Adams, Spirit Lake with Rainier peaking out above, and of course feeling like you are walking into the center of a volcano is awesome!

Kate Denman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jun 27 2020
HikingGreat!No shade

Loowit Falls - We decided to go on a not so hot day since there is absolutely no shade. You toss a coin on whether or not you will have a view when you do this though. We had great views of Spirit Lake and MSH, but only saw a sliver of Rainier and Adams for a short minute. We did see a small group of mountain goats, which was awesome. This was a moderate hike for me. There were some up and downs in the gullies, but nothing too crazy. There was one spot that was a little steep (not dangerous,) but, even for someone like me that has zero coordination and balance, it was doable. Just take your time going up and down. Slide on your butt if you feel the need on the way back. There was only one small boulder scramble, but it wasn’t too difficult. Other hikers stacked rocks to show the best way. This trail is very windy, so prepare accordingly. We were cold at the Windy Ridge parking lot, but as soon as we started hiking, we took off layers and never put them back on. I wore a wind breaker with a tank top underneath. Now that wearing masks are mandatory when social distancing is not possible, many of the hikers had some sort of face covering. Many were respectful and covered their faces when passing by other hikers. The mask was great to block the wind and dust on our faces anyways. Highly recommend sunscreen, even on a cloudy day. I rate this a moderate hike for the length. Online, it says 9.2 miles, we recorded 10.35 miles and 5hrs 38 minutes. We love to stop to take videos, pictures, potty breaks and snack breaks though. The bathrooms at Windy Ridge are now open. Happy Trails!

Ashley Holland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020

gate opens up monday :) ill b going July sec

Eric Bralli
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 24 2020
Hiking

Even on a cloudy day, this was an unbelievable hike. We did Truman to Abraham to Loowit. We made the trek to loowit falls and saw a Mountain goat and her kid on the way back. Clocked in at 12.2 miles and just shy of 2k elevation. If you follow the trail map for this hike and opt not to see the falls, it should be closer to 9 miles.

View Eric's Recording
Jen H.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Apr 18 2020
Hiking

Attempted to do this hike but the gate is locked 7 miles from the trailhead.

Melony Johns
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Oct 30 2019
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

We hiked this yesterday 10/29/19 (Happy bday Kaitlynn!) It was a beautiful sunny day, but super windy, especially the closer we got to the falls. Saw some elk! It was a little challenging staying dry on part of the trail crossing some water. The view of the falls was hindered due to all the ash being blown around by the wind, but still a lot of fun and so much diversity in the terrain!

Emily Rihm
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Oct 24 2019
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble
View Emily's Recording
Sid Bruckert-Frisk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 02 2019
Hiking

awesome views! Added on 4 miles by hiking on Loowit trail and making a loop.

M User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Aug 24 2019
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

Awesome hike. Fantastic views. Moderate difficulty, with approximately 1/8 mile strenuous section right before falls. Small trail section ~20m is very light creek crossing. Easy crossing. Was overcast when hiked which made for great shade since there is no other cover available.

View M's Recording
Derek Chauran
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Aug 11 2019
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

I cannot recommend this difficult trail highly enough. The entire hike is full of amazing views, there are relatively few people, and the falls are stunning. We started this hike at 2pm, much later than intended. Unfortunately this meant most of the hike in was in full sun. The first part is a walk along a forest road (closed to the public) to the actual trail. It is worth taking a stop at the recording station just a little way in to read the plaque and appreciate the view. Upon reaching the trail, you cross what looks like a dry riverbed, and round a shady bend with a lovely small patch of forest. From there you start up the actual debris flow, and the view just never stops being breathtaking. It looks deceptively easy from here, but make no mistake, you are constantly dipping in and out of runoff channels, and many of these dip are more of a scramble than a hike. About 3/4 of the way in, you'll come to a small creek surrounded by trees, but do not stop just yet. You can hear the much larger creek coming from the spring just a few feet down the trail, and this is where you want to stop and rest. This is truly a little oasis. You can see the water erupting from nothing, and the water here is incredibly cool, clean, and refreshing. There are lots of boulders to sit on. From here, it's a short hike to the fork up to the falls. The trail up to the falls viewpoint is not particularly steep, but much of it is just waking on volcanic debris, and it is harder than it looks. The end of the trail is marked by a large rock pile, and the view of the falls from here, as well as the surrounding gorge are unforgettable. You also have views of the top of Mt Rainier, and Johnston ridge from here. The walk back down to the main trail is much easier, and for about half a mile we had mountain goats everywhere. Some off near the valley that the falls flow into, one keeping pace in front of us on the trail and some up on the hillside above us. The rest of the return trip is really not much easier than the trip in, because you still are dipping in and out of runoff channels. That said, you are facing spirit lake, and the views continue to boggle the mind. Mount Adams is your constant companion for the last segments of the hike, ant taking the time to appreciate the geologic history laid bare in the naked rocks is a great way to kill time. Along the road for the last couple of miles, you can see layers of pumice from multiple eruptions over the centuries, and, and the spectacular colors of the rock comprising the surrounding valleys. This definitely ranks as my most memorable hike to date.

Andrea Kreiger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Aug 05 2019
HikingNo shade

Beautiful views of Rainier and Hood. Zero shade so bring sun protection. First half is essentially a road then well marked path. Not crowded at all on a Monday.

View Andrea's Recording
Julie Calkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 31 2019
HikingNo shade

I Loved this trail and I think anyone should do it just to see the blast zone after 39 years!

Aimee Opincariu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 28 2019
HikingNo shadeRocky

This is an amazing hike! We chose a day that had cloud coverage in the morning and then cleared in the afternoon. On the way in we didn't really realize exactly how close to the mountain opening we were! The views change throughout the entire hike. we were able to see Mt. Adams and a smidge of Rainier. (Also climbed the stairs at the trail head and we saw Mt Hood too.) We did this hike with moderately experienced 9 and 11 year olds and they did great. Went on a Saturday and only saw maybe four groups of other people. Definitely bring sunscreen and prepare for weather changes.

Mike Buse
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 28 2019
Hiking

I felt like I was on the moon most of the hike. The falls and view of St Helens were cool.

View Mike's Recording
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