Explore the most popular forest 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.

walking
8 hours 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!

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
1 day 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
3 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.

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!

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.

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
7 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!!!

camping
7 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
8 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
10 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
12 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

nice area/hike. lower trail is now OPEN as of 6-29-2018 .

sidenote, follow signs to get to Lava Canyon. I was new to area, saw a sign telling me to turn left for Lava Canyon, but my GPS wanted me to go straight. i followed signs, and it got me there. it was actually the only way to get there since road ends at lava canyon trailhead . wherever my GPS was taking me was going to be 10 miles in wrong direction.

One of my favorites for sure!

Road to trailhead to Ptarmigan route is closed during the winter/spring. We fortunately found this out the evening before climbing on June 18th. It was a surprise since so many people recently left reviews under the other route (maybe they didn't realize there were a couple ways up? Or maybe the rangers we talked to didn't know there was another way to get to the summer trailhead?). Worms Flow trail ended up being a great hike. GPS clocked it at about 10.5 miles rt. First two miles gentle incline through forest followed by some pretty rough landscape.Gardening gloves were nice for scrambling over the rocks. Suprisingly windy on this sunny clear day. Last mile and a half were extremely steep. My kids (11&12) had microspikes/gaiters and did fine on the ice/snow which ended up pretty slushy by the time we reached the top. I had crampons. As posted before, glissading was great. Able to come down about 1.7 miles from the top by sliding. Took our young crew about 12hrs start to finish. Leisurely pace, lots of breaks, and no complaints.

Bring lots of water and a water filter

This trail is not open as of 6-24-18! The lower trail is closed and the short loop is the only thing open.

mountain biking
23 days ago

I have hiked and biked this trail many times and it is still one of my all time favorites. There are not many places in the world where you can hike into a recent volcanic blast zone and this one is in my back yard. The views are out of this world.

Amazing place!!! All trails open however ROAD 25 to trailhead was closed. Take ROAD 23 to 90 if coming from east!!
Lower falls are the most impressive but don’t miss on upper falls. Definitely worth a hike

Honestly one of the best hikes I’ve done in the PNW. Stunning views not too crowded and the trail is in great condition. Would rate this as Moderate and not hard

nature trips
28 days ago

5 miles up, 5 down. It’s a nice smooth trail but lots of incline so be ready to work hard. Bring bug spray and a bug zapper as the mosquitoes are bad. Gorgeous views the higher you go, and at the top you will be blown away by the views. You can even continue onto more trails if you want and feel like you’re actually climbing on to the mountain.

on Ape Canyon Trail

hiking
29 days ago

The most incredible hike I’ve done this far.. Good prep for a hard hike I’m tackling next month. A must do, like everyone else said!

such a great climb! started later than we wanted and multiple groups coming down stating weather wasn't permitting a summit, no visability. We as a group decided to go as far as the last of the rocks on the trail then make a call on the summit. as the discussion was taking place, wind shifted and gave us a window to take the last push. Amazing views once we broke the clouds. Sliding down was the funnest part except taking the wrong route down, once we realized our mistake we were six ridges over from our needed path down, this added at least another 90 minutes to get down, GPS saved the day. Lots of boulder scrambles, wish I had crampons instead of micro spikes but just a little extra work.

Load More