Hike 34
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Windy Pass - Plains of Abraham Loop Hike
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THE FOLLOWING MAP IS NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATIONAL PURPOSES.
Map of the Windy Pass, Plains of Abraham Hike

Length: 5.5 Miles round trip
Elevation Change: 800' Elevation gain/loss
Season: Mid-Summer thru Mid-Fall
Difficulty:   Moderate
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required
Volcano Alert Call this number to see if this trail is closed:  360-449-7800


Features:

Now that the road is open from Windy Ridge to the trail head of the Windy Pass Trail, a person can hike a lot more of the north and northeastern slopes of Mt St Helens. Parking at the trail head, follow Trail #216E.

This trail heads west as it gently climbs toward the Loowit Trail #216, which goes completely around Mt St Helens. In season this part of the trail is lined with unbelievably beautiful floral displays.

When you reach Loowit Trail #216, bear left and follow the trail uphill toward Wind Pass. Looking north from the trail you will be blessed with outstanding views of Spirit Lake, Mt Margaret, Coldwater Peak, and Mt Rainier to the north and Mt Adams to the east.

As you approach Windy Pass, the trail does a number of steep narrow switchbacks When you reach Windy Pass you are presented with incredible views of the Plains of Abraham and vistas to the south and southwest, including Mt Hood.

As you descend the ridge toward the Plains of Abraham you will have exceptional views of Mt Adams. Upon reaching the plains, the trail crosses the level area to the east to junction with Trail #216D. Upon reaching this junction, bear left and follow Trail #216D back to the trail head where you began this hike.

During the wildflower season, this next section of the trail is one of the most floral and most beautiful anywhere! You get alternating views of Mt Rainier and Mt Adams.

As you approach the end of the trail, you will encounter a very steep and very unique stairway down this ridge. Use caution at all times. The trail follows the ridge line to the road, which you will need to follow back to the trail head where you parked.



View from Windy Pass in the Mt St Helens National Volcanic Area
View east toward Mt Adams from Windy Pass
How to get there:

From Woodland, WA
From Woodland follow SR 503 and the Lewis River Road for about 48 miles to the community of Cougar, WA. From Cougar, continue east on the Lewis River Road which will turn into Forest Road 90 after you enter the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. In about 18.5 miles you will come to the junction of Forest Road 25. Forest Road 90 makes a right turn, downhill at this junction, but you will need to continue straight ahead on what is now FR25. Follow FR25 north for approximately 25 miles, passing the Cedar Flats Natural Area, and the junction to Forest Road 93, which takes you to the Craggy Peak hike and the Hat Rock Overlook hike, past Elk Pass and the junction of Forest Road 28 which leads to the Craggy Peak hike, and finally you will come to Forest Road 99 on your left, which is the road that leads to the Windy Ridge side of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and many hikes.

From Carson, WA
If however, you plan to approach this hike from the Columbia River Gorge area, then begin at Carson, Washington and head northwest on the Wind River Hwy. In 7.5 miles you will pass through the little community of Stabler, and in another 5.8 miles you will come to the junction of Forest Road 30. Turn right onto FR30 and follow this road for 13.2 miles north along the Wind River and then up a steep incline and onto a plateau where you will come to the junction of the Curly Creek Road. Turn left onto the Curly Creek Road and follow it downhill past an excellent view area for about 5.1 miles until you come to Forest Road 90. Turn left onto FR90 and follow it for about 4.1 miles. You will descent to and cross the Lewis River then come to the junction with Forest Road 25. Make a sharp right turn onto FR25. Follow FR25 north for approximately 25 miles, passing the Cedar Flats Natural Area, and the junction to Forest Road 93, which takes you to the Craggy Peak hike and the Hat Rock Overlook hike, past Elk Pass and the junction of Forest Road 28 which leads to the Craggy Peak hike, and finally you will come to Forest Road 99 on your left, which is the road that leads to the Windy Ridge side of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and many hikes.

From Randle, WA
Go south out of Randle on SR 131, cross the Cowlitz River, and you will come to Forest Road 23 on your left. Stay on SR 131 heading south and soon this road will become Forest Road 25. Continue south on FR25 for almost 20 miles and you will come to Forest Road 99 on your right.

From junction of FR25 and FR99
After turning onto Forest Road 99, you will climb westward for about 9 miles before coming to Forest Road 26 on your right, which takes your to the Norway Pass TH and the Goat Mtn TH. You continue on for a very short distance, and you will pass the trailhead for the Meta Lake hike. Continue along FR99 for about 3 miles and you will pass the trailhead for the Independence Pass hike. Continue on FR99 for just over another mile and you will pass the trailhead for the Harmony Falls hike. In about 5 more miles you will come to the end of this road and the parking area for the Windy Ridge viewpoint. This is the same parking area for this hike to Windy Pass. You will have to walk past a gate on what is still FR99, but visitors cannot drive this portion of the road. You will have to hike along the road for almost 2 miles before you will come to the actual trail.



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River Crossing Safety
A Virtual Hike of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument


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