If you are looking for a mellow trail with breathtaking mountain views, lakes, wildflowers, and valleys without all the crowds, then Harry's Ridge in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is one to check out!
The trail starts out at the Johnston Ridge Observatory, where you will be greeted with amazing views of Mount St. Helens and it's blast zone. On the weekends the observatory may be busy with tourists and families looking to check out the view point. From here take Boundary Trail, where the trail starts to descend away from the observatory crowds and into the untouched mountainside. Throughout the trail, devastation from the 1980 eruption is still prevalent, as the terrain is very fragile yet has a very rugged appeal. The wildflowers and greenery becomes more and more abundant as the trail continues, and the mountain views seem to get better by the step.
It is a good idea to wait for oncoming traffic once you reach the catwalk section of the trail as the path is extremely narrow at certain points and there is a precipitous drop on one side. Although those who fear heights might find this section intimidating, it's a highlight of the trail, and you should be just fine staying close to the wall! After crossing the catwalk the views of the Toutle River Valley and Spirit Lake will not disappoint.
At about 3.5 miles there's a junction sign that will point you to the left and onto the final push to Harry's Ridge. The ridge overlooks Spirit Lake and gives you the best views of the mountain yet! This is also the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the observatory.