Though the first section of this hike leads through the areas that were burned in 2008 and 2012, you will reach the Round the Mountain Trail in just 1.3 miles. Once on this trail you will leave the mountain climbers and the burn zone behind in favor of a relatively flat route through lava cast forests, the Aiken Lava Bed, and remarkable foliage depending on the season of your visit. To walk among the wildflowers, your best viewing time is late August through early September; by mid-September, brilliant fall colors settle in and remain through mid-October. You'll also pass various mountain streams, waterfalls, and a lovely pond filled with tadpoles and frogs.
As the trail passes into the Yakama Indian Reservation, keep in mind that backcountry camping is only allowed at the 8,300-foot Sunrise Camp. Anyone hiking in the Mount Adams Wilderness above 7,000 feet from June 1 to September 31 needs a Cascade Volcano Pass. The Yakama Nation has agreed to allow public access to the Bird Creek Meadows area, which means there are two different access points.
Once you've reached Bird Creek Meadows, you'll find several picnic benches that make for a great lunch stop. Moving on from Bird Creek Meadows, take a left and climb up toward Hellroaring viewpoint at 6,520 feet. From here you'll gain incredible views of Mount Adams, the Mazama Glacier, and the vast glaciated Hellroaring Canyon. Venturing up beyond the viewpoint can increase your chances of seeing mountain goats and ptarmigans, but remember to stay below 7,000 feet if you haven't obtained the Cascade Volcano Pass.