Hike 37
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Ghost Lake Hike
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THE FOLLOWING MAP IS NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATIONAL PURPOSES.
Map of the Ghost Lake Hike

Length: 4.6 Miles round trip
Elevation Change: 500' Elevation gain/loss
Season: Summer thru Fall
Difficulty:   Moderate
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required
Volcano Alert Call this number to see if this trail is closed:  360-449-7800


Features:

This hike offers one of the very best opportunities to see the devastation of the Mt St Helens explosion in comparative fashion. This hike takes you from complete and total devastation to virtual no devastation and then back into almost complete.

The trail begins across Forest Road #26 from the Norway Pass Trail head. The trail climbs fairly steep at first and at about a half mile summits. While climbing to this saddle, you are presented with excellent views of the Mt Margaret and Goat Mountain formations.

As you walk east of the saddle, you will see Mt Adams peeking over the distant tree covered ridge. The steep cliffy area to your right, on the south side of the trail is a major player in why some of the forest that you will be hiking through survived the 1980 explosion.

At about a mile, you can walk off trail for a few hundred feet to view a small little pond. In season, this is a very floral hike. Below you is a nice meadow.

Now the trail descends a bit, and enters a small stand of trees that by fate, and a little help from the large cliffy area to the south, survived the explosion of Mt St Helens. This is a very unique area to examine. You will see trees with their tops missing, and beside them, trees with their bark missing. Then next to those trees you will see trees that are completely unharmed.

The trail continues to descend and finally crosses the stream from Ghost Lake. The bridge may be out, but the stream is small and not difficult to cross. Immediately after the stream is the junction to Ghost Lake and Trail #1H.

It is another half mile to trails end along side of the north end of Ghost Lake. As you approach the lake, you will wade through a considerable pile of pumice left over from the 1980 event. All in all, this hike really demonstrates the variety of effects of the devastation.



Looking back at the trailhead for the Ghost Lake trail of the Mt St Helens National Volcanic Area
Looking back at the trailhead for the Ghost Lake trail
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, which is also the parking area for the Ghost Lake hike. After you park, you will walk back out to FR99 and you will see the sign for the Boundary Trail 1, which will take for this hike.



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


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