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McClellan Meadows

South Cascades > Mount Adams Area
46.0097, -121.9017 Map & Directions
Length
6.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
500 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate
A bridge on the McClellan Meadows trail. Photo by Rod Hooker. Full-size image

This gentle, short hike offers spring flowers and a nice forest ramble, following most of George McClellan's railroad survey of 1852. Continue reading

  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Good for kids

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
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Hiking McClellan Meadows

This gentle, short hike offers spring flowers and a nice forest ramble, following most of George McClellan's railroad survey of 1852. 

Despite the name, the trail does not go to McClellan Meadows, which form the headwaters of the Wind River. The trail begins just south of McClellan Meadows and 1.5 miles from paved Forest Service Road 30 (Wind River Road) and the McClellan Meadows Sno-Park.

Once on trail, you'll hike through second-growth forest with a diversity of tree species. Besides Douglas-fir, look for western white pine, western red-cedar, noble fir, Engelmann spruce, western hemlock and mountain hemlock. Stop and count the rings of any logs you see; most of them will be 65 to 70 years old, indicating roughly the last time logging occurred here. Pass through a thicket of Douglas-firs and as you hike into the second half of your journey, skirt a 15-year old planted forest of more fir that has recently been thinned. 

Looking above your head, you may notice blue diamond markers about 10 feet up on the trees. This trail is also a snowshoe route, though it's a more grueling journey in the winter. In summer, you may share the trail with mountain bikers, who appreciate the moderate grade through here as they head downhill from Oldman Pass to the Falls Creek parking lot. Be sure to share the trail and know the right-of-way rules.

The trail crosses two stock bridges and one turnpike, following a set of rounded ridges and crossing an old overgrown logging road before it ends at Forest Road 65 near the Indian Racetrack trailhead. While there are no vistas and the forest is largely unchanged the whole way, it allows you time to hike meditatively. The similarity of the surroundings lets you bask in the cool forest and imagine Major George McClellan's 1852 railroad survey, which passed through here. 

Hike Description Written by
Multiple authors contributed to this report, WTA Community

McClellan Meadows

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.0097, -121.9017 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

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, drive 49.5 miles east on Highway 14. At the roundabout, take the exit for Carson onto the Wind River Road.

Proceed 14.6 miles. Just past the Carson National Fish Hatchery, make a sharp right turn where the Wind River Roads meets Mineral Springs Road. Continue up the Wind River Road, climbing over Old Man Pass, for 12.8 miles to the McClellan Sno-Park on the right.

At the north end of the Sno-Park, turn onto gravel, potholed Forest Road 3053 for 1.5 miles to the trailhead for McClellan Meadows Trail #157. The trailhead only has parking space for one car. Additional parking is available on the road shoulders at the trailhead for Terminator Trail #159 (signed Snofoot Trail) just before reaching the McClellan Meadows trailhead.

Note: To view McClellan Meadows, stop at a wide pullout along Forest Road 3053 at 1.2 miles. A short path leads to the edge of the meadows, which are very wet in spring and early summer.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

South Cascades > Mount Adams Area

McClellan Meadows (#157)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Cowlitz Valley Ranger District

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McClellan Meadows

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