Sheep Canyon Trail

Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington

Elevation Gain300ft
Trailhead Elevation3,600ft
Elevation Min/Max3381/3612ft
Elevation Start/End3600/3600ft

Sheep Canyon Trail

Sheep Canyon Trail is a hiking trail in Cowlitz County and Skamania County, Washington. It is within Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. It is 1.9 miles long and begins at 3,600 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is a mile with a total elevation gain of 300 feet. Along the trail there is a viewpoint. This trail connects with the following: Loowit Trail and Toutle Trail.

Sheep Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"As you leave the trailhead the route climbs gently through a brushy area. Beside the path lupine and other flowers add color. Soon the tread enters old-growth forest. Here a side path goes to the left a short distance to a viewpoint of a waterfall in Sheep Canyon Creek. When you are away from the edge of the canyon you climb through old growth forest, but close to the rim the forest was stripped away by the mudflow from the 1980 eruption.

Now, at about 4,200 feet elevation, the composition of the forest begins to change. The trees are smaller and spaced farther apart. Huckleberries grow thickly between the trees. If you are here in late August you may want to take the time to enjoy their fruit. Shortly after leaving the canyon the trail enters The Blast Zone. One mile from the junction with the Sheep Canyon Trail a great viewpoint on the right side of the trail overlooks the South Fork Toutle River Canyon."

"Offering great views down the mud-filled Toutle River Valley, this trail explores areas of destruction as well as healthy old forests that miraculously escaped the ravages of the 1980 eruption. The route also offers a much shorter option for those who want to enjoy the very best views but don’t have the time and/or energy to do the full outandback route.

The best views of the entire route—and arguably the best views found on the western side of the monument—are found just a quarter mile into the walk. This makes a great half-mile hike if you want to cut short your walking adventure and just focus on the views."

Sheep Canyon Trail Reviews

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yes, kevin is correct, the road to the trailhead (TH) is washed out, but starting at the blue lake TH only adds about 5 miles to the loop, not 7 and is well worth the effort. i recommend a clockwise loop. follow toutle trail (#238) for 2.5 miles, turn right on sheep canyon trail(#240, uphill), left on loowit trail (#216), georgeous views here of mt. st. helens to the right and mt. rainier in the distance, at end of downhill turn left on toutle trail (#238,) after crossing bridge meet back at junction where loop started and return via toutle trail to TH. Total hiking time with lunch and picture stops was 6.5 hours.
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I'm sure it would have been a fine hike if I could have driven to the trailhead like the trail guide stated. The road is washed out at Blue Lake and a large berm has been placed there to keep people from driving across the creek. You can hike into sheep canyon from that location but it will add an additional 7 miles to your hike.

Sheep Canyon Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument
Nearby City
Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument
Skill Level
USFS Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Local Contacts
Green Trails No. 364 Mount St. Helens
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018