Welcome to the Toutle Valley!

I'm starting this blog to help visitors find the many things to do around Mount St. Helens and the Toutle Valley.  Our area is surrounded by adventure, high and low, but it's sometimes genuinely hard to find information about these special places.  Before our volcano erupted, the Spirit Lake Hwy followed the Toutle River all the way to Spirit Lake and Mount St. Helens with easy-to-find adventure around every bend.  The route was lined with campgrounds, river access, logging roads, trails open to all,  and vast areas to explore. 

Today its different--With all the passes, permits, and rules, it's a tangle of red tape to just understand where you can go for a walk.  Don't dispair!  I know all the secrets... and I might even be asking for your help to make the area more accessible. 

Consider this blog your "insider's guide" to the Toutle Valley.  

Posted By Toutle Trekker

Last time I mentioned that the Hummocks Trail, which is a 2-mile loop, and the closed highway to Johnston Ridge can be good places to cross-country ski or snow shoe.  The Lakes Trail, which may be dicey for skiing because of steep drop offs into the lake, can provide a nice winter snowshoe route when the snow is deep, or a boot hike with minimal snow.  Often, in March or April, the Lakes Trail has little or no snow, and early season hikers are discovering that the Coldwater Lake area is a good place to start the hiking season.  Other Forest Service trails include the lower Boundary Trail where it intersects with the Hummocks Trail, and a snowshoe hike up the highway a mile to the South Coldwater Trail that leads uphill to great views and miles of trekking. 

For a shorter trip, try the nature trail just below the Forest Learning Center playground.  This hike drops through the noble fir trees, crosses a wet area on a boardwalk, and drops to a logging road.  Round trip is about two miles.  It can be done with snowshoes right now.

The 3100 logging road provides another area to get off the highway.  About a half-mile past Hoffstadt Bridge is an intersection of logging roads.  On the south side, the 3100 rd drops to state wildlife land in the valley floor.  In winter, parts of the wildlife area are closed to entry to protect wintering elk, but the 3100 access road can used as a winter trail. 




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Toutle Trekker


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