Explore the most popular mountain biking 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.

hiking
18 hours ago

Perfect hiking conditions—70 degrees, no wind and almost no one on the mountain on a Monday morning. Leaves are changing colors and amazing views the whole way. Easy drive from PDX, took about an hour after crossing in to Washington. I’d rate the trail moderate only for length—it was never steep or difficult terrain. My only negative on this trail is it is a dry trail, so be sure to bring enough water for you and the dogs. You’re in the woods for all but the last mile, so you don’t have to worry too much about being overexposed to the sun.

hiking
20 hours ago

I loved everything about this hike. Great views at the start and at the finish of the hike. We went to the Loowit trail and headed right for a quarter mile or so. Beautiful views of Hood.

This was by far my favorite hike of 2018. Challenging, beautiful, fun and plenty to see. Went of trail to get behind and underneath some waterfalls, but nothing too crazy!

hiking
1 month ago

Wonderful hike. Some bugs but not unbearable. We arrived early and didn’t see many other hikers until we were close to the car. There was a nice little stream that we ate lunch at and soaked out feet in at the very top of the hike.

7/22/18 - Trail is well groomed, road is good except for a small gravel portion, which was not bad. Expect for people to drive really slow specially if it's a small vehicle or minivan. A bit of advice - Never go on a Sunday, specially if it's a hot day. Lower Lewis was packed cars parked on both sides of the road with more behind us. We decided to skip Lower and went to Middle then went up to Upper, there was no more then 20 people at either. Happy travels!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is one of my new favorites. Started up early and foot/bike traffic was light, but as the day wore on it got heavier - especially the mountain bikes. All the riders were super conscientious and polite though so sharing the trail was fine. I do have to say though, it’s a bit nerve wracking on the hike down to be keeping your ears open for bikes speeding up behind you.

Most of the hike is in the trees (beautiful old growth timber) on a ridge with some views of Mts. Hood, Adams and Rainier. There are also good views of the lahar. At the top where the trail meets with the Loowit Trail you are blessed with fantastic views of all four peaks. It’s just awesome. Still quite a few wildflowers blooming, even in September.

We got back to our car at about 2:00 and the parking was ridiculous. People were parked all up and down the road. Be aware if go, especially on the weekend.

I've been in the lower falls..
no words can describe how beautiful it is... Amazing...

8/6/18
Hiked windy ridge to abraham flats (this trail is very narrow for the most part on slippery sand and on a ridge. Watch your footing. The stairs were the scariest part for me going both up and down, they are really steep and slippery...the sand will just fall from under your feet. pretty trail with a lot of interesting bugs I've never seen before and the grass hoppers are super loud here! couple of steep parts when your crossing dry creeks in the hills before you get to the plains.) to loowit trail (I thought I could get to the falls this way instead of having to go back down abraham trail, but it was a no go... the loowit trail is basically non existant when you get to the last lava field at the base of the mountain. I could see trail markers at every lava field except the last one. I attempted what i thought was the trail from the se side and feared I would get hurt, so I scrambled back down. I would not recommend doing the loop. I then backtracked. this trail connects with june lake and ape canyon. Make sure your wearing good gripping hiking boots or shoes. the sand is very slick and this trail can have some really steep parts. Started this hike at 6am and saw no one else on the trail till my descent back down around 10am and they were on the windy ridge trail.

hiking
1 month ago

The trail is in good shape. Starting off from the parking area you have beautiful views of Mt. St. Helens for a short stretch, then you’re in the trees for a good three and a half miles before it opens up near the timberline. The last mile to the Loo Wit Trail is much more of an incline than the first three miles, so be prepared for a more strenuous finish. About a quarter mile from the intersection with Loo Wit the trail hooks sharply to the right, but if you’re not paying attention you can easily continue up a dry creek bed and lose the trail. If you’re ever hiking in the creek bed, you’re off trail. Other than that, the views on top are spectacular, even with all the smoke still in the air. Have fun!

hiking
1 month ago

Life goal check! My first real hike in 2 years so it was a challenge. I went all the up to the end of the trail. Views are spectacular!

great hike. Wife is a beginner but had great time. Lush wood made for cool hiking

Beautiful!

Beautiful place

Went off hours, late afternoon on a weekday, and had the place almost to myself. Can get packed on weekends.

Getting to the trailhead is simple enough. I came up by way of Merrell Lake and the Kalama Horse Camp. I think most people go up and past Ape Cave but both are fine. As others noted, the trail is in great shape. Bring water and DEET with you though! The lack of water along the hike was disappointing to me but it was still a great time.

I would suggest that you explore the actual lower camp area once you get up to the base of Butte dome. The camp ain’t much... a couple of logs serving as benches around a fire ring but still...

The second recommendation is to go that last mile to reach the Loowit Trail. The views are spectacular and once you get above the tree line, well that’s just cool experience.

Most of the hike is in the woods so catching those grand vistas up past lower camp is exceptionally worthy.

Assuming you do the trail clockwise be careful as you come back around the west. The trail is almost non existent and incredibly slippery. Lots of wash out - I would stay away actually. Wildflowers right now are awesome. No mosquitos.

The drive there was very bumpy. Take a suv or truck. The way down to the waterfall is a bit tricky. We went on a Saturday afternoon and it almost looked like we were at a water park FULL of people, everyone was nice and minded their own business, so we didn’t really mind that. Great swimming spot for kids. We took our 2 year old and she LOVED it.

If you are coming from southern washington the road to get there will say closed about 3-4 miles from the trailhead. We drove past the road closed signs and came to a giant pothole in the road that no cars could get around (jeeps or trucks could make it) so we had to park and walk about 2 miles to the trail, being chased by bees the whole way. Not fun. But the lower waterfall was gorgeous and good for swimming, and I will be going back! Next time we will go around to enter from the north side to avoid the potholes and bees.

The waterfalls are worth the drive and hike!

So glad I got to see it BUT the road to get there washed out and we were detoured thru hood river Oregon to get home! Literally took us an additional four hours to get back to I-5.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked up just past where ape canyon trail intersects loomit loop, ate lunch, hiked back down. Clocked it at 10.3mi in 5 hrs including stops (doggy sniffing included).

* dusty and dry. BRING WATER especially for furry friends - there are 0 spots for them to drink from any bodies of water. Period.
* pretty flat footing all the way up since it’s a mixed use trail used by many mountain bikers.
* steady incline with a few ups and downs. No steep bits. I would put this on the easy side of moderate, with the only moderate part being the length. It really was quite an easy hike.
* all the mountain bikers we ran into were super respectful and conscious of hikers being on trail.
* great views of St. Helens, Adams, and even Rainier!
* bugs weren’t bad in the morning, but got bad as the day got hot. There were only a few mosquitoes towards the beginning, and the rest of the way up it was just a lot of flies. They were more annoying than anything. We got very few bites from the mosquitoes and the rare biting fly. Once we popped out onto the plains, there was an amazing breeze and the bugs were gone.
* LOTS of other trails to connect to and directions to go in once you reach the plains if you’re looking for a longer trek.

Beautiful upper and lower falls and the middle the falls isn't too bad either. It was in the 90s but felt cool in all the trees.

so worth it very good for photos

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months 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!)

hiking
3 months ago

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.

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
3 months 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.

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