Lava Canyon

Cougar, Washington 98616

Lava Canyon

Lava Canyon Professional Review and Guide

"The Loop is rough and slippery in spots. Below the Loop the trail is very rough, exposed and slippery in spots. The ladders, which must be descended to continue down to the Smith Creek Trail and to The Ship, can be slippery when wet. The trail to The Ship is also very difficult and exposed. The paved trail leaves the south side of the parking area, descending gently. You will make a couple of switchbacks and pass some benches before reaching an interpretive viewpoint. The viewpoint is a wooden platform with a handrail and information sign.

The side trail turns to the right (southeast) and climbs very steeply to The Ship viewpoint 0.2 mile away. The Ship is a large rock outcrop above the riverbed. The view from The Ship is well worth the effort it takes to get there, but the trail is very steep and exposed."

Lava Canyon Reviews

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The beginning of this trail is absolutely beautiful! After you get off of the paved switchbacks you get some incredible views of a huge waterfall and some lava flowage. Amazing!! In all of my research to do this trail today, nothing indicated that parts of it were closed. We could only hike about a 1/4 mile to the suspension bridge then signs said the loop was closed at this point. I believe a bridge on the return trail is out. So be sure and check on this before you go. We can't wait to go back when we can hike the entire loop...the water is just beautiful!
The environs were worth the trek, rainbows over the falls, emense rock and lava formations, wonderful forested areas, and the best natural A/C ever at the bottom of the falls. Dissapointed that the suspension bridge is closed. The trail is well described, and just a note, when it sais, "Most difficult trail" Do NOT take your children, under 12 no matter how skilled, it becomes a goat trail on a very steep cliff, not to mention crossing the waterfall was an adrenaline rush all it's own for my small kids. Just the right amount of challenge though and then we turned around and headed back before the trail got to skinny for them.

Lava Canyon Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
1,130 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Day hike
Best spring thru fall
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Local Contacts
USGS Smith Creek
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018