Explore the most popular birding trails near Cougar with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

We did upper Ape cave using our cell phone flashlights (put your phone in airplane mode so your battery lasts). Really fun! Lots of bouldering and fun trying to figure out which path to take thru the rocks. The 8 foot wall wasn’t too difficult even without a rope. My husband helped us by giving us an extra foot hold - helped! Hike is not for those who have only walked on flat, 3 mile trails in flip flops haha! Absolutely wear hiking boots and enjoy!

hiking
20 hours ago

It's definitely not 'hard' as the description would indicate, as the inclines are manageable, and it's not too long. That said, it is definitely buggy, and you should plan to be harassed by the bugs for your entire time in the trees. It's a gorgeous trail though, and one I'd recommend for sure. Btw...I just read some of the other reviews from the last day or two. the bugs aren't as bad as the others let on. I mean...you're out in the woods...sheesh. Wear some sleeves and a hat and you'll be fine. I don't ever wear bugspray and didn't have many bites.

Also - note that this trail gets a LOT of MTB traffic. Plan accordingly for that if you're going to head up it. I personally start early in the morning so I get all of the bikes on their way up. If you catch them all headed downhill I could see this being pretty sketchy.

Awesome !!!! Lower caves get lame because of the crowds but still cool! We did upper and was less crowded and more adventurous. We brought our 7 year old and she did great!. UPPER CAVE IS NOT HARD! Group sizes (10+) were the only problem. If u hike here in WA often u will be fine! Some boulder scrambling and balance is all that is needed! Pro tip: bring head lamps and gloves... ur welcome! Those who rate this 3 stars or below simply do not belong here. Enjoy! Please remember that this isn’t a factory outlet!

we did the longer more strenuous loop and it was awesome!! make sure you have your headlamp though, you'll need both hands to get along some parts of this trail.

also. wear hiking boots. I saw a girl in tevas really struggling in there. poor decision on her part.

hiking
4 days ago

Went on a Wednesday and only passed a few hikers and bikers. The bugs we're out but as long as I was moving and had my windbreaker zipped up they we're tolerable. (but literally no stopping allowed) once you get out of the trees (~4miles) the bugs are gone and there are wide open plains to walk through with spectacular mountain views. around mile 5 the trail intersects the loowit River trail. I believe you are "supposed" to take the right fork as far as you want. There is a good stopping place around 5.25 miles but I wanted to make it an even 6 so I continued on through the planes. the incline was very mild and even though you climb quite a bit, it is spread out evenly through the whole hike so it is never too much of an ass burner! I could do without the bugs but all in all and great hike. (finished 12 miles in 4.5 hours- a PR for me!)

Hiked 7/17: NFRD 90 is full of dips that u won’t see but will hear the bottom of your car scraping the pavement- 30 mph max! Hike: need a NW Forest Pass....well marked trail with Lewis River right next to you almost the entire way up to Upper Falls. No bugs and only saw 2 people on the way in. Great hike for a hot day!

Forgot to clock out of my recording so it recorded a bit of the drive out!
It was a beautiful clear day and we ended up dipping into the water. We arrived at lower Lewis and didn’t realize we could hike up to see middle Falls and upper Lewis. I highly suggest doing so, middle Falls was one of my favorite stops just because it wasn’t nearly as crowded as the lower Falls!
Great hike and would do it again!

I was here on 7/15/2018.
Gorgeous trail, well worth the drive.
Because I hiked this with a dog, I showed up at about 9:30am to beat the heat. It was pretty cool on arrival. I hiked from Lower Falls to Upper Falls and was back to my car by 1pm. I stopped at all three Falls to take in the view, so the hike could have been much shorter if I didn’t stop for breaks.
Not buggy at all, I even forgot to put on bug spray and didn’t get any mosquito bites.
The trail is well maintained and easy enough for beginners, but fun enough for experienced hikers.

These falls really are a must see. Just go. It’s an easy hike with decent mileage and views you won’t forget.

The road to get here is packed full of pothole-like dips, so take it slow. Also, a part of the road is all gravel. I drove a Prius and it did just fine, but I did need to take it slow.

walking
7 days ago

Beautiful trail! The waterfall is absolutely beautiful! I’d rate this trail as moderate. Make sure that you have a good pair of hiking boots with a good grip. There’re a several sports that are a bit steep and some of the spots might have smooth, slippery rocks.
Make sure to bring a bug spray.
The hike is not that long but pretty exiting! If you’re still full of energy there’s Ape Canyon trail right next to it with gorgeous views of Mt St Helens.

My favorite falls of the trio is the lower falls because they are spectacular and offer great swimming options. The middle falls were very beautiful. I especially liked how the water ran over the top of a rock outcropping that was only an inch or so deep. Very beautiful!

hiking
8 days ago

I wanted so bad to enjoy this hike, but the bugs were completely unbearable. We made it a little over halfway, but anytime we stopped along the trail to let mountain bikes pass, or take a water break, our bodies were covered head to toe in what appeared to be flies. They would not let up. I was fully covered, and still, my ears and face were covered in bugs.There was no serenity to this hike at all whatsoever.
If you’re thinking you’re prepared for bugs, think again. We got to the point we were spraying bug spray as we walked. We doused ourselves in spray prior to the hike, and had little OFF fans. Still, nothing. I envy anyone that could get past these critters.

hiking
8 days ago

BUGS... BUGS... BUGS... BUGS. Terrible bugs - despite all of us using spray and wrist bands - didn't matter. Would be a nice hike to try when the bugs are off season (when is that?).

hiking
10 days ago

Just did this trail for the first time on 7/7/18 and we thought we were prepared for the clouds of angry bugs... We weren't. But once you get up out of the woods they thin out to mostly just chill honey bees just doing their thing with the wildflowers. Bring a jacket in case it's pretty windy up top.

Awesome hike. Probably my favorite to date.

The upper tube should be marked as hard! The 8 foot wall has no rope and others had to help keep traffic flowing. Small children should not be going thru this area.

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!

hiking
13 days ago

Hiked 07/07/18

Fun hike. The south side trail on the river is still closed but the north side of the river is open however somewhat primitive. There are some risky spots with sheer ledges. There is a spot with a 32’ steel ladder to traverse into the bottom of one of the canyons. Might not be good for kiddos but with that said I would have taken mine.

The first part of the trail is all paved and it has a suspension bridge that was fun. This is a loop that is surely easy to navigate. Once you hike off the pavement and onto the dirt trail it gets challenging. Have fun and be careful.

hiking
13 days ago

This is truly one of my new favorites. Trail was awesome and in great condition! Went straight to the upper Falls, had lunch and a refreshing dip in water-less people at the upper Falls-so glad I read the reviews to go there. Returned back where son swam in the middle Falls. Breathtaking scenery.

hiking
14 days ago

This might be my new favorite hike ever. St. Helens is gorgeous. It is a gradual incline I would say for the most part. We encountered two mountain goats! Not busy at all. I would definitely do this again!!!

A big cave lol

camping
14 days ago

Lower Lewis Falls is one of my favorite places to camp! Unfortunately the pit toilets are horrible! On the other hand, it is a great base camp to explore the Mt St Helen's area. There are several waterfalls in the area.

My wife, and I hiked the trail to the middle, and upper falls last week 7/2/18. It is a beautiful hike. We like to pack a lunch, and eat at upper falls. What a gorgeous place. Safe for the whole family.

on Lava Canyon Trail

hiking
14 days ago

We hiked Lava Canyon last week 7/3/18. Love this hike! The upper loop is moderate, and safe for most healthy people. If you don't like heights this isn't for you.

Hiking down into the canyon should be rated difficult. There are 90 ft cliffs. People have died in this canyon. There is alot of loose rock which makes narrow stretches slick, and sketchy! A family with small child behind us turned around and left at the first one of those sections. Good idea!

There is a rock formation in the middle of the canyon that people call "The Ship". Climbing it reminds my wife of Hobbits climbing Mt Mordor, so we call it Mordor rock. The view from the top is beautiful. You can look back at the Lava Canyon waterfalls from it. Well worth the climb.

Beautiful trail. 1st time to upper falls and it was amazing. Have hiked to middle many times, glad we pushed on to the end

Trail is open, went on the hike on Saturday. Nice small hike and good for family

Definitely beautiful and worth walking to all three falls. Trail starts in a campground so its pretty crowded. It is a very easy trail great for kids and pets.

Hiked a few weeks back thought I might share a video I made about my experience. Hope you enjoy: https://youtu.be/QN-UbQnBEqQ

Be safe out there,
NW Adventures

hiking
17 days ago

We only did the upper loop as the lower was still closed fathers day weekend. What a cool area!! The rocks were a little slick for any downhill and that felt sketch. Saw another couple really struggling. Dogs may not be the biggest fan of the suspension bridge. Really quick and easy jaunt though with BIG rewards

hiking
19 days ago

We've done a few hikes around Mt. St. Helen's before and this had the best views. A bit longer than Lava Canyon, but well worth being right underneath the mountain at the end.

Wonderful hike. So worth the last painful miles! Highly recommend! It took us about 9hrs total. Also glissading was AMAZING! I was tempted to hike back up the mountain just so I could glissading down again.

One of the best trails in the park

hiking
20 days ago

Amazing walk. Definitely worth it to take the long route. But make sure to bring a jacket—the cave is far colder than exterior temp.

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