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Windy Ridge Trail

South Cascades > Mount St. Helens
46.2499, -122.1362 Map & Directions
Length
4.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
200 feet
Highest Point
4200 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Easy/Moderate
View of Mount St. Helens from Windy Ridge. Photo by Riri.
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Ridges/passes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

The drive to Mount St. Helens’ Windy Ridge is spectacular! From this east side of the mountain, the summit is close — more so than from the Johnston Observatory side. And it is quiet! Continue reading

Rating
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Hiking Windy Ridge Trail

The drive to Mount St. Helens’ Windy Ridge is spectacular! From this east side of the mountain, the summit is close — more so than from the Johnston Observatory side. And it is quiet; on a busy weekend you can often find the parking lot less than half full.

On the road to Windy Ridge, stop at every viewpoint and explore the trailheads.

Enjoy a picnic lunch at Windy Ridge and listen to the Ranger Talk (it is excellent and is held every hour on the half hour on summer weekends) as you gaze in awe at Mount St. Helens.

Then hike up the steep stairs above Windy Ridge where Spirit Lake and Mount Rainier come into view or simply enjoy the view from Windy Ridge itself.

WTA Pro Tip: If you want to extend your adventure, explore the nearby Meta Lake trailhead, a seldom-used paved trail which provides a lovely view of the lake’s calm waters. The Meta Lake trailhead is also home to the Miner’s Car — a stark reminder of the lives that were lost on May 18, 1980.

Hike Description Written by
Karen Daubert, WTA Community

Windy Ridge Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.2499, -122.1362 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

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

From the north, drive I-5 to the exit 68 (for Highway 12 east), then drive 17 miles to Randle. From there, turn south (right, if coming from the west) onto State Route 131 south, and drive it for two miles to where it becomes Forest Road 25. Continue on this sometimes-rough road for 17.7 miles, and turn right onto FR 99. Drive Highway 99 to 17 miles to its end at Windy Ridge viewpoint. A pit toilet is available here. 

To approach from the south (Woodland), take exit 21 from I-5 and drive Highway 503 east to Cougar (this is about 29 miles). SR 503 turns into FR 90, and you'll stay on it for 19 miles before turning left onto Forest Road 25. Drive FR 25 for 25 miles to the junction with Highway 99. Drive Highway 99 to 17 miles to its end at Windy Ridge viewpoint. A pit toilet is available here. 

More Hike Details

Trailhead

South Cascades > Mount St. Helens

Truman (#207)

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Nelson - Mountaineers)

Day Hiking: Mount St Helens (Romano and Theisen - Mountaineers Books)

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Windy Ridge Trail

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