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West Crater

South Cascades > Mount St. Helens
45.8785, -122.0829 Map & Directions
Length
1.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
430 feet
Highest Point
4131 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Easy
  • Mountain views
  • Old growth
  • Summits
  • Good for kids
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Hike to a small lava dome with an associated summit crater in southern Washington. Continue reading

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Hiking West Crater

Hike to a small lava dome with an associated summit crater in southwest Washington. This volcano erupted about 8000 years ago, and unlike some of the larger volcanos in the area is likely dormant.  

West Crater is one of 13 volcanic cones in the West Crater-Soda Peak area of the South Cascades. It's a short trail, just about a half-mile, which ascends through a mature fir forest with a high canopy and a park-like summit overlooking a 660-foot diameter crater. Two large lava flows produced lava fields that emptied into canyons on either side of the dome, and these are also visible from the top of the crater. 

From the rim of the crater, hikers enjoy a three-volcano view north, east and west. Two large lava flows produced lava fields that emptied into canyons on either side of the dome, and these are also visible from the top of the crater.  Nearby is the Trapper Creek Wilderness with the Soda Peaks trail, which leads to a lovely little alpine lake. 

WTA worked here in 2021!

West Crater

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 45.8785, -122.0829 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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

Approach from the south, from Carson (off Highway 14) to West Crater is 22 miles. Head north from Highway 14 on the Wind River Highway to Little Soda Springs Rd and Forest Road 54. Proceed up Forest Road 54 to Forest Road 34 and turn left. The West Crater trailhead is 1 mile from NF-54. 

Approaching from the west, Chelatchie Prairie to West Crater trailhead it is 23.6 miles. Head east on NE Healy Road towards Calamity Peak Rd/NF-57 and then onto NF-5704. Once you reach NF-54 proceed to NF-34.  West Crater Trailhead is 1 mile from NF-54. 

More Hike Details

Trailhead

South Cascades > Mount St. Helens

West Crater (#155)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount Adams Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)

Mt. Adams Ranger District

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

UDSA. 2003

National Geographic. Mount St. Helens Mount Adams Trails Illustrated. 2012.

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West Crater

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