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Volcano View Trail

South Cascades


South Cascades -- Mount St. Helens
View map below


1.6 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 400 ft.


2.00 out of 5

WTA worked here: 2019

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

The Volcano View Trail completes a trifecta of great hikes for children near Mount St. Helens. The nearby Ape Cave and the Trail of Two Forests both provide welcome respite from the typically hot and dry hikes around St. Helens. The Ape Caves weave underground through old lava tubes, while the Trail of Two Forests shows the volcano's power, contrasting old-growth forest with the devastated landscape that didn't escape the 1980 explosion. Now the new Volcano View Trail offers hikers of every age a mile-long nature trail that curves around stumps, boulders and hemlocks.

A thick green canopy of trees high above the trail shades hikers, keeping it considerably cooler on the hike, even when tempuratures soar in midsummer. The trail follows an old logging road, though it may be hard to tell. Trees have grown up over many sections of trail, and WTA volunteers worked hard to create a more natural experience for hikers as they built the trail over several years.

From the trailhead, follow a gentle uphill grade to a flat section near some old-growth nurse logs. Kids will marvel at the western hemlock saplings that spring from the ancient stumps. This twist in the trail was intentional. WTA and land managers who laid out the trail wanted to show hikers a glimpse of the future; the saplings of today could be the magnificent trees of tomorrow.

Past the nurse stumps, the trail traverses a hillside and passes over some mossy boulders. There's an open area here that can be used for picnicking, snacking, or simply a rest before continuing just a few minutes further to the south view of the volcano.

Don't be surprised by the small parking lot nearby. WTA volunteers completed a wheel-chair friendly trail from the upper parking area to the viewpoint in 2014, and the parking lot is currently available for those who don't have the time for a mile-long walk in the woods.


Volcano View Trail

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.1035, -122.2160 Open map in new window


South Cascades -- Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

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Getting There

From Cougar, head east on Forest Road 90. One mile beyond the Swift Dam turn left onto Forest Road 83. Drive two miles on this road, then turn left onto FR-8303. Continue for another mile on FR-8303, and look for the trailhead on the right.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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Volcano View Trail

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