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Windy Ridge Trail

South Cascades


South Cascades -- Mount St. Helens
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4.0 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 200 ft.
Highest Point: 4200 ft.


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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

The drive to Mount St. Helens’ Windy Ridge is spectacular! From this east side of the mountain, the summit is close — more so than from the Johnston Observatory side. And it is quiet; on a busy weekend you can often find the parking lot less than half full.

On the road to Windy Ridge, stop at every viewpoint and explore the trailheads.

Enjoy a picnic lunch at Windy Ridge and listen to the Ranger Talk (it is excellent and is held every hour on the half hour on summer weekends) as you gaze in awe at Mount St. Helens.

Then hike up the steep stairs above Windy Ridge where Spirit Lake and Mount Rainier come into view or simply enjoy the view from Windy Ridge itself.

WTA Pro Tip: If you want to extend your adventure, explore the nearby Meta Lake trailhead, a seldom-used paved trail which provides a lovely view of the lake’s calm waters. The Meta Lake trailhead is also home to the Miner’s Car — a stark reminder of the lives that were lost on May 18, 1980.


Windy Ridge Trail

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.2499, -122.1362 Open map in new window


South Cascades -- Mount St. Helens

Truman (#207)

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

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Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Nelson - Mountaineers)

Day Hiking: Mount St Helens (Romano and Theisen - Mountaineers Books)

Getting There

From the north, drive I-5 to the exit 68 (for Highway 12 east), then drive 17 miles to Randle. From there, turn south (right, if coming from the west) onto State Route 131 south, and drive it for two miles to where it becomes Forest Road 25. Continue on this sometimes-rough road for 17.7 miles, and turn right onto FR 99. Drive Highway 99 to 17 miles to its end at Windy Ridge viewpoint. A pit toilet is available here. 

To approach from the south (Woodland), take exit 21 from I-5 and drive Highway 503 east to Cougar (this is about 29 miles). SR 503 turns into FR 90, and you'll stay on it for 19 miles before turning left onto Forest Road 25. Drive FR 25 for 25 miles to the junction with Highway 99. Drive Highway 99 to 17 miles to its end at Windy Ridge viewpoint. A pit toilet is available here. 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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Windy Ridge Trail

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