Explore the most popular hiking 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.

This tops out as one of my all time favorite hikes. Tired of endless switch backs through evergreen forests? Miles of trekking with nothing to see until you get to the top? This is like being in Jurassic Park! (Minus the dinosaurs). An amazing change in terrain, cliffs, rocks, small patches of forest full of berries in the summer, lots of birds and fields. You get a full amazing view of the mountain during this hike if it's clear.

Seems like a lot of the reviews mention this being 'scary' and having sketchy sections of the trail...not really. This is not scarier than any other hike on a mountain. There is no danger of falling, there were no sections of the trail that had less than four feet of space with a drop off to one side. This is also a great place to go to get away from people. Once I left the Hummocks, I saw ZERO people. Both times that I've been out.

Must do this trail. Awesome photo ops, wry exposed so bring water, sunscreen and your camera.

We were fogged in for our first half of the hike- when we got to the peak- the fog would roll in and out changing every few minutes. On the way back, we did get to see what we were hiking. You can see the parking lot from the peak (if the weather permits). We saw a coyote down near St Helens Lake and a few deer immediately beginning the trail from the visitors center. This hike is long and the end elevation should not be ignored. Gorgeous on all accounts. Saw lots of bear, deer, elk and some mountain goat scat as well but saw no mountain goats!

Beautiful trail. Amazing views of St. Helens pretty much the whole way. The trail is well marked except for one spot - take "Harry's Viewpoint" for the trail to the top of the ridge.

It was a bit of a challenge for being out of shape, but WELL worth it

hiking
26 days ago

Did this trail the last week of September and the fall colors were fantastic. The Toutle Trail from the trailhead to the intersection with the Sheep Canyon trail was in good shape and there were some boards across the creek just below Blue Lake. Doing the loop there were several large trees that had come down across the trail, but none of them presented any problem getting around. My track record came to a little over 12 miles. Three miles to the loop and the loop was six miles. Didn't see anyone else on the trail.

This trail was beautiful with open and changing views the entire way.

The trail itself was clearly defined on the ground and by tall posts and signage. The terrain is smooth and you experience a few small inclines that most people can manage.

It is exposed to the elements so bring sunscreen/ hat, water, and a rain jacket.

Started this hike around 9:30am on a Sunday with very few other hikers.

Car park and visitor center was bustling around 12:30

hiking
1 month ago

I took my time enjoying the cool and quiet PNW forests in the beginning of the hike and took in the awesome views of Saint Helens once I cleared the thicker portion of the timberline. The Sheep Canyon Trail waterfall is beautiful and has the perfect outcropping for an amateur photographer such as myself. Also, seeing firsthand the raw power and destruction of the pyroclastic flows is awesome. The hike is challenging enough but rewarding throughout. I only saw 2 other hikers on the trail that day. Unfortunately there was quite a bit of haze in the air, both from the forest fires in Canada and the rest of the PNW, and I'm sure cranky Saint Helens was doing her part to contribute to the haze. Hopefully someday I'll be fortunate enough to summit her!

hiking
1 month ago

Great loop good chance to see wildlife

Awesome views of Mount St. Helens! I didn’t make it all the way up to Harry’s ridge because it started raining and the clouds covered up Mount St. Helens. I’d love to go back on a clear day and try again. I highly recommend this trail!

hiking
1 month ago

It is a long hike but the views along the trail and from the summit make it worth it. The huckleberry bushes are now (9/18) a deep red and there are a lot of berries on them higher up. Could hear elk bugle frequently near St. Helens Lake and saw two herds of elk on the way back.

Good hike, though we were both pretty tired by the end of it. There is no cover throughout the duration of the hike, so if you're going on a sunny day - wear sunscreen and/or a hat. We went on a cloudy, cool day so there weren't many other hikers on the path. There isn't much that is particularly difficult about the hike other than it's a lot of up and down. The last 3/4 mile to the peak was probably the worst part of it. I wouldn't recommend wearing pants that leave any skin exposed because of some overgrowth on the trail - you don't want to risk getting you ankles cut up. Other than that, it was quite a bit colder as we got up so be sure to layer. On a clear day, you'd get some amazing views of the mountain. I think the coolest part of the hike was seeing so much of Spirit lake. Side note - I accidentally left something at the peak and we tried to go back to get it the next day, but there was too much rain. For that hike we started at South Coldwater lake since we didn't want to do all the up and downs, and I think I liked that way better to get up. You get great views of Coldwater Lake and there's a lot more vegetation.

Go early. First one out in the morning. probably saw close to 150 elk. The bugles were like a symphony. Everyone I talked to on the way back saw no elk. Probably one of the best hikes ever, but you have to go early before animals bed down for the day

hiking
1 month ago

Very pretty views! Pretty difficult for a beginner or not having the proper shoes. Lots of ups and downs and a couple switch backs. So beautiful and well worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a beautiful loop. Due to Helen's eruption in 1980, you can still see the damage/change done to the area; this makes for an ever-changing hike.

Blessed to make it out on a clear blue sky day. This path is right along the visitor center and features amazing views of Mount Saint Helens and the peak of Mount Adams.

trail running
1 month ago

Amazing views and mostly smooth trail with some moderate hills up and down. I only met two people on the whole thing. Not very busy, which was nice because the trail is pretty narrow.

cross country skiing
2 months 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
2 months 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.

2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
3 months ago

great trail for kids!

Load More