Windy Ridge

  • Easy (to Windy Ridge Viewpoint)
  • 0.2 mile round trip
  • 200 feet elevation gain
  • Open late June through October


  • Moderate (to Loowit Falls)
  • 9.2 miles round trip
  • 900 feet elevation gain


  • Difficult (to Plains of Abraham)
  • 11.4-mile loop
  • 1400 feet elevation gain

For a close look into the mouth of Mt. St. Helens’ steaming crater, start at the Windy Ridge parking area. A staircase climbs 200 feet to a popular viewpoint, but longer trails lead right up to the crater’s outlet—a badlands chasm below 200-foot Loowit Falls. A trail planned for 2015 will climb to an even closer viewpoint above Loowit Falls. Hikers are not allowed to explore off trail.

To find the trailhead, drive Interstate …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington.