Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
6,000.00 ft (1,828.80 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
15.00 mi (24.14 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Tucked away in the rolling hills of Southern Washington sits the glorious Mount St. Helens. The once very active volcano has become a very beautiful place to hike and backpack around in the Southern Cascades. Near the Johnston Ridge Observatory you can find a handfull of different hikes that take you all around the surrounding area. Starting from the visitor center, follow the Truman Trail around a ridge before dipping down into the valley toward the waterfalls. After about 3 miles you will connect to the Windy Trail that will lead you to the final connecting trail, Loowit.

A slow descent down the ridge opens up to a massive valley with a Spirit Lake on the left hand side of the trail. It is not uncommon to find lots of wildlife wandering around these areas. If you are lucky, you might catch a pack of elk migrating across the valley or a group of mountain goats snacking on some grass. They often are grassing and migrating across the large valley along with some mountain goats the further up in elevation you get.

You will continue onward on a relatively flat ascent across the valley for several miles until you reach the final destination of the Loowitt Falls Trail. A slow and steady uphill last mile takes you to a well deserved view right by the Loowit waterfalls pounding down against the earth below you. O a clear day you can catch Mount Rainier glowing behind the trees behind you.

This hike is excellent to do as a day hike or an addition to a longer backpack trip through the area. This hike will give you a variety of terrain, wildlife, and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. If you're wanting a longer hike, you can chain this trail together with a backpack trip that goes all around the Mount St. Helens area.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Spring

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Wildlife. Wildflowers. Waterfalls. Day hike.

Cons

No dogs.

Trailhead Elevation

4,800.00 ft (1,463.04 m)

Highest point

4,800.00 ft (1,463.04 m)

Features

Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Shelters
Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Wildlife
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

Yes

Permit self-issue on site

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.