Explore the most popular no dogs trails near Toutle with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

cross country skiing
22 hours ago

great

Almost didn’t do this trail but so happy I did. You think you’re getting the best view about a mile from the top but I promise the last push is worth it. From the summit, you have a great view of Helens, Hood, and Adams. Pretty exposed trail but the views are worth it.

We did the loop and the only negative I found was having to walk along the street to get back to our car and that is why I gave it 4 stars instead w 5.

hiking
4 days ago

Fossil Trail 242: Gifford Pinchot Forest
13 August 2018
This is an overlooked hiker trail I can recommend – moderate difficulty for the first mile then easier. Well traveled by horses but no shoe prints or bike tracks today. With the temperature in the mid-90s this August hike was 95% in the cool shade of a moderate growth forest. The trail starts in the north end of the Kalama Horse camp – walk 100 yards and cross the FR 81 to the trail signpost. Begin at 2,200’ elevation. The first quarter-mile is relatively flat then joins an old caterpillar track and ascends 30° for a mile with a couple switchbacks – this is the steepest part of the whole trail. The second mile is easier at a 10° ascent and by mile 3 is level at 3500’ (highest elevation).
On the ascent and right side of the trail looms Goat Mountain (4,965 feet tall). It is NE of the trail and viewed from time to time through the trees. Essentially the trail follows The Fossil Creek Valley and contours around the western slope of Goat Mountain. There are no trails marked on the map for a Goat Mountain climb. Along the way the only opening in the forest are four avalanche chutes – easily traversed.
At mile 3.3 the trail enters the Mount Saint Helens Monument boundary and follows it in and out for a mile. It is here the trail descends to Goat Marsh Creek – the only water source. On this part of the trail, now traveling east, a few glimpses of MSH can be seen. The trail eventually joins up with Road 8123 and ends south of Blue Lake where the Blue Lake Trail and Toutle Trail can be accessed leading back to the Kalama Horse Camp; a 14-mile loop.
The quality of the forest makes this hike. Patches of moderate and old growth Nobel & Hemlock Fir, and Western Red Cedar marks this as a mature mixed forest. Many large trees are >4’ DBH and a couple >6’. The tread is entirely ash/pumice and in many places the trail needs brushing, berms knocked down, the trail widened, and limbs trimmed. Long pants and hiking poles are recommended. No ticks.
Wildlife: abundant bear and coyote scat, along with elk droppings.
A report on this trail by Tom Paulu Oct 2, 2014 (The Daily News) says the Forest Service opened the trail in 2003 and it was built by Backcountry Horsemen of Washington.

fantastic! only one mosquito August 1 , a few deerfly. my 13 year old did this with me and loved it. saw multiple deer and eagles, under trees, next to the water and some Rocky areas keep it from getting boring and repetitive, scenery is gorgous

This is a hearty hike with spectacular views of Mt. St. Helens (only when you are up on the ridge) and of Coldwater Lake. I went counter-clockwise so did the elevation gain at the beginning. The view from the top of the ridge is wonderful and well worth the hard work to get there. As others have described the downhill portion is a bit overgrown, so hard to see your way and there are not any views because of the dense overgrowth.

The relatively flat north side of the lake is nice - and being rewarded with lake views now and then is a nice reward after the long descent from the ridge. I found a great lunch spot with about 5 km to go in the hike - with nice views, a cool breeze and some kayakers to watch. The only reason this hike doesn't get 5 stars is because of the mile or so that you have to walk on the highway. Not much of a shoulder on the blind curves - be careful. However you get some amazing views of Mt. St. Helens and the inside of the crater which takes a bit of the sting away. No mosquito's when I went in early August. I clocked in at 19.7 km.

Unmatched views of St.Helens. This trail is very long and completely open. Recommend bringing a hat and sunglasses or the sun will wear you down.

14 days ago

Great hike, super easy but great views for not a ton of effort. Beware though - we saw (not exaggerating) probably 20+ different rat snakes along the trail. They were harmless, but still... snakes.

hiking
15 days ago

Great views

Nice views but we only had time for the observatory and the short hike and it cost $8/ person for a green wrist band. Make sure to get your money's worth if you go, skip this and hit the other areas of the park-

hiking
25 days ago

Great views of Mt. St Helens the entire hike! This trail is well marked and trafficked. Devil’s Elbow isn’t maintained anymore—it is blocked off and there is an arrow pointing you to stay on the Boundary Trail. Was able to see Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood in the distance while on Harry’s Ridge. There are wildflowers everywhere you look. Pretty exposed hike, so make sure you’ve got sunscreen. I got to Johnston Ridge Observatory around 9:30 and the parking lot was mostly empty.

Excellent hike, I’ve been here 3 times but have only done the full loop once. I walk every day and have a lot of stamina but this hike was tough (at first, as I was ploughing through the hills!)

I suggest starting at the first parking lot (main entrance) and walking out to the main road and following it up to the second entrance. You have to walk on the road anyways for about a mile and I’d prefer to end my trip in the wild than on the road.

I agree not really a trail but the views were great of the mountain and the way nature has reclaimed the land after the volcano erupted. Forty years of progress is pretty amazing.

hiking
27 days ago

great trail for kids!

Very nice views of the mountain

As others have mentioned, not really a trail..but does provide awesome views!!! Absolutely worth the detour on the way to Seattle! (At least once!)

Good flow and pretty lake views. You have to stop and swim. Best part of the ride.

1 month ago

it was a great trail for beginners and going counterclockwise has better views of the mountain and overall was amazing

1 month ago

beautiful view of the lake.

I ran this trail on Monday although we went clockwise and started/ended in the north parking lot. The trail was in nice condition and the scenery was amazing with my favorite area being on the north side looking down on the lake. The elevation climb on the southeast side was tough turning it into more of a hike for me during that portion but it made the last downhill portion back to the car a reward. Even though the last bit is on the highway it didn't take long and the shoulder is plenty wide to avoid becoming road pizza. Total distance came in at about 11.83 miles with 2,178' of elevation gain according to my device.

I am a new hiker with few skills. This was the first time I have ever hiked at any type of elevation or had to bring in water and food...I even brought in a change of clothes just in case so my bag was kinda full. all that being said, I found the first part very steep. I had to stop many times for a break but after that first mile or so it really gets easier. There was also a long section where there were bugs everywhere so I would recommend bug repellent of some sort. It was so beautiful and I'm glad I went. the trail was really easy to follow and the sketchiest part of the hike was the last half mile on the road. Because of the time of year there were several groups if hikers on these trails. There is a bathroom at a lake access point towards the last fourth of the hike if you don't like going outside.

Easy access with great views. More of a walkway than a trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail with beautiful views! Great for family with older kids (8+ years)

Was a beautiful trail. The machinery was cool to investigate. Used trekking poles and was very manageable for even the novice hiker.

Nice farily easy hike around the lake. We parked at the lot and went counter clockwise to get the highway part of the hike out of the way first which was nice. Very well maintained trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Very little work for a LOT of payoff. Well established, easy trail with some of the most amazing views of St. Helens that you'll ever see. Went in early July and the Wildflowers were absolutely amazing. Keep in mind there are NO DOGS ALLOWED (most hikes in and around this area are no pet zones). Also, the original trail I downloaded from AllTrails had it marked to actually take the Devil's Elbow trail. Once you get there, there is a sign that says not to take it, and for good reason. You would be hugging a cliff side on a trail with loose dirt. DON'T TAKE DEVIL'S ELBOW, just stay on Boundary Trail.

Great hike - Weather was cloudy, so we did not see the top of Mt st Helen, but the views of the valley were awesome! Nice flowers and awesome views! Not to be missed!

I like the view of MSH and surrounding area, the incredible wild flowers, and the diverse elevation. The late June weather was ideal. It was crowded but not in an annoying way. We saw a mountain goat at the top in the distance.

There are some real pluses and minuses to this trail. Lots of people at beginning since it takes off from the main parking lot of Johnston Ridge Observatory. Easy to get there so no problems with rough roads. First 3 miles had some great views of Mount St. Helens with awesome display of wildflower colors. After cut off to Harry’s Ridge, definitely less people. A couple of minor sketchy areas that just require good balance and poles around the Hole in the Wall. Great views from the top of Coldwater Peak but spoiled somewhat by the equipment up there I presume aimed at St Helen’s Crater for monitoring. Take plenty of water for mostly exposed hiking and bring your NW pass for $ off on hiking and parking.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice interpretive trail at the end of Coldwater Lake just below the Visitor Center. The boardwalk takes you out into the water... Saw a snake. Picnic tables provide a nice place to relax with a cool breeze off the lake.

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