What’s your favorite thing to see on a hike? Is it lush, green trees, tranquil waterfalls, or perhaps something more daring, like a suspension bridge? If you hike the Lava Canyon Trail located along the South Cascades in Mount St. Helens, you’ll see all of that and more.
The Lava Canyon Trail is just under 5 miles round trip, and to see the best views, you’ll want to hike the whole thing.
Start early to avoid the peak season crowds, and take as many breaks as you need.
The canyon was named after the lava from the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption that formed it.
It’s strange to think this area was once nothing but smoldering ash.
The trail is ranked as moderate, and there are a few steep climbs, although many beginning hikers have enjoyed it without problems.
This hike isn’t recommended for very young children.
At the end of the trail you’ll come to this magnificent suspension bridge.
The bridge alone is worth the hike.
A word of caution for those who are scared of heights: The bridge does swing a little.
But don’t worry, it’s safe, and the views are spectacular.
You have to hike the entire trail to see the mountain, but it’s definitely worth it.
To reach the Lava Canyon Trail, head down (or up) I-5 to Highway 503.
Drive east for 35 miles to Forest Service Road 83. Take a left and drive 10 miles to the signed trailhead.