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Bird Creek Meadows

South Cascades > Mount Adams Area
46.1404, -121.4400 Map & Directions
Length
3.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
800 feet
Highest Point
6500 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Easy/Moderate
Bird Creek Meadow. Photo by Jason Racey. Full-size image

Bird Creek Meadows is a short crowd pleaser of a hike. Known for its abundant wildflower meadows, views of Mount Adams and the Hellroaring Canyon, and little creeks, lakes and waterfalls, this trail provides a nice 3-mile loop for hikers. Continue reading

  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Waterfalls
  • Good for kids
  • Lakes
Rating
4.14 out of 5

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Hiking Bird Creek Meadows

Bird Creek Meadows is a short crowd pleaser. Known for its abundant wildflower meadows, views of Mount Adams and the Hellroaring Canyon, and little creeks, lakes and waterfalls, this trail provides a nice 3-mile loop for hikers.

The loop begins at Bird Lake, where the forest was severely burned. Park at the south end of the lake and enjoy the view of Mount Adams looming over the lake. Walk on the short spur road to the left and look for the start of the Bird Lake Trail, which may not have a sign.

The trail gradually ascends with Mount Adams looming ahead and wildflowers and birdsong all around. You'll cross Crooked Creek three times. Watch for trail turns: the trail makes a 90-degree left turn to cross the second bridge. Hikers have gotten lost here by not seeing the bridge and going straight ahead instead. At just over one mile, scenic Crooked Creek Falls will appear. Peel yourself away, and continue hiking upwards to the junction with the Round-the-Mountain trail at 1.5 miles.

Turn right and hike 0.7 mile. Turn left on the Trail of Flowers. You know what you'll find here: flowers! Lots and lots of them. The diversity is remarkable, and this is one hike where you'll want to have a field guide with you. Climb up through meadows. If you can lift your eyes from your feet, as you gain elevation you will see Mount Hood to the east.

Shortly past a clifftop viewpoint, come to a trail junction in about 0.5 mile. Turn left for a side-trip to the show-stopper at Hellroaring Overlook. Follow the trail for 0.6 mile upward to its end at a clifftop view overlooking Hellroaring Valley and up at the southeast face of Mount Adams. Bring binoculars so you can scan the slopes for mountain goats and the Hellroaring Meadows in the valley for black bears.

When you have seen enough, return the way you came to the trail junction. You can turn left to continue on around the Trail of Flowers. Beyond this point, the trail enters burned forest so the flora changes dramatically. At the Bird Creek Meadows Picnic Area, turn right onto the Round the Mountain Trail and walk about 0.2 mile to a junction with a trail on the left.

Turn left here onto the Bluff Lake Trail, which will take you back to Bird Lake in 1.3 miles. Pass waterfalls, meadows and Bluff Lake along the way. The trail will bring you to the north shore of Bird Lake and you can walk around the lake on the campground road back to your vehicle.

WTA Pro Tip: Before you go, however, make sure the Yakama Nation has the area open. The Bird Creek Meadows trails are on Yakama Nation lands and in recent years, the Yakama Nation Mount Adams Recreation Area has only been open for one month in late summer. Contact tribalforestry@yakama.com or call (509) 865-5121 ext. 4613 for current information on open dates and day use fees.

Note: This is one of guidebook author Joan Burton's favorite family hikes, and she provides a great write-up in her Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & Cascades book (Mountaineers Books). The 2015 Cougar Creek Fire burned across Bird Creek Meadows and since then trail conditions have deteriorated due to lack of use and maintenance, so the hike is no longer so family-friendly as when Joan wrote her book.

Toilet Information

  • Toilet at trailhead

More information about toilets

WTA worked here in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011!

Hike Description Written by
Susan Saul, WTA Correspondent

Bird Creek Meadows

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.1404, -121.4400 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Vancouver, go east on State Highway 14 to a bridge over the White Salmon River. Cross it, then take a left turn onto 141A signed for Trout Lake. Highway 141A goes up along the White Salmon River to a "T" intersection. At the "T", turn left and that puts you on State Highway 141. Drive about 20 miles to Trout Lake.

As you enter Trout Lake, you will come to a Y at the gas station. Take the right fork as you head north. At 1.1 miles, stay right at the fork, following the Mount Adams RECREATION AREA/BIRD CREEK MEADOWS sign. Stay on the main paved road following signs for Bird Creek Meadows.

After 4.3 miles, you enter the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and a sign informs you that you are on Road 82. At 4.4 miles, the road narrows and turns to gravel, and you come to a three-way fork. Take the middle option. Immediately after this fork, signs confirm you are still on your way to Bird Creek Meadows and you are still on Road 82.

Continue on the main gravel road driving towards Mount Adams and entering burned forest from the Cougar Creek Fire. At 10.7 miles you come to an unsigned fork; stay left and start driving uphill on switchbacks. The road narrows to a single lane.

At 12.9 come to a bridge over Bird Creek with two yellow gates. Continue driving upward. At 14.7 miles, you come to Mirror Lake; you can see the lake on your left. There is a road junction just beyond Mirror Lake.

Take the left fork to go to Bird Lake.

The road straight ahead goes to the east trailhead for the Round The Mountain Trail in about 3 miles. Beyond the trailhead, the road becomes substantially rougher to its end at Bench Lake in about 2 miles.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

South Cascades > Mount Adams Area

Yakama Nation Mount Adams Recreation Area, Yakama Nation Tribal Forestry

Guidebooks & Maps

Best Hikes with Kids Western Washington and the Cascades by Joan Burton (Mountaineers Books)

Day Hiking Mount Adams and Goat Rocks by Tami Asars (Mountaineers Books) 2014

USFS Mount Adams Wilderness

Green Trails Mount Adams WA No 367S

Buy the Green Trails Mt Adams No. 367S map

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Bird Creek Meadows

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