Trail of Two Forests

Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington

Elevation Gain96ft
Trailhead Elevation1,901ft
Elevation Min/Max1844/1901ft
Elevation Start/End1901/1901ft

Trail of Two Forests

Trail of Two Forests is a hiking trail in Skamania County, Washington. It is within Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. It is 0.4 miles long and begins at 1,901 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 96 feet. The Trail of Two Forests Trailhead parking and the Trail Of Two Forests Interpretive Site attraction are near the trailhead. There are also restrooms and a bench.

Trail of Two Forests Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Day Hiking: South Cascades (The Mountaineers Books)
Dan A. Nelson
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"The two forests in question are separated in age by 2000 years, but they stand side by side. One forest is a lush, old-growth Douglas-fir and western red-cedar ecosystem that surrounds this boardwalk trail. The other is a young forest that was originally engulfed and consumed by the lava flows from an eruption of Mount St. Helens more than two millennia ago. The trees from that ancient forest are gone, and all that remains are the imprints left by their burning hulks in the cooling lava. The lava solidified faster than the trees burned, and as a result there are hollow impressions of trees engulfed by the river of rock. These three-dimensional imprints of trees are called lava casts—three-dimensional impressions in the rock—and this scenic loop trip offers plenty of opportunity to study them." Read more
Day Hiking Mount St. Helens (The Mountaineers Books)
Craig Romano and Aaron Theisen
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"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for these two forests. One was engulfed in flames as a lava flow enveloped it, leaving behind empty casts where giants once stood; the other rose like a phoenix from the volcanic ashes to continue the circle of life. Walk across this land of contrasts admiring the volcanic forces that continue to shape this landscape." Read more
Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades (The Mountaineers Books)
Joan Burton
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"Nature trails are usually a bore for young children. But someone, 1900 years ago, must have had kids in mind when a lava flow from Mount St. Helens covered a forest and created an 80-foot tunnel just big enough for kids between the ages of five and fifty to crawl through. The Trail of Two Forests winds through an existing forest to lava casts of one that stood here 1900 years ago, so children can easily see the reason for the name of this trail." Read more

Trail of Two Forests Reviews

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After getting cut short on the Lava Canyon trail we decided to stop here for a quick loop. This would be an amazing trail for would love it! The entire trail is a boardwalk and in one spot there is a lava tube that you and the kids can crawl through! Bring a flashlight and dress accordingly...we didn't so opted out of the crawl experience this time...Very nice place to stop and have lunch too. Would be a great side hike after Ape Caves June Lake loop or something.

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Trail Information

Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument
Nearby City
Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly, Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Skill Level
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Local Contacts
Green Trails Mt St. Helens 332S
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018