Johnston Ridge Observatory

Location: Johnston Ridge Observatory, Mount St. Helens, Washington

Permit: Johnston Ridge Observatory entry fee ($8). One free entry with NW Forest Pass

Option 1 to viewpoint
Level: easy Beginner Level: doable
Round trip/Gain: 3.8 miles/400ft
Type: round trip

Option 2 to Harry’s Ridge
Level:
moderate
Round trip/Gain: 8 miles/1000ft
Type: round trip

That first view of Mount St. Helens when driving up 804-E kills me. I love this mountain so much! And so does everyone else, because I thought I was pulling one over showing up early morning midweek on a hot day, but no, the parking lot at Johnston Ridge Observatory was swarmed. I dreaded walking up to the Observatory to get my armband (you have to wear your proof of entry and mine was free because I have a NW Forest Pass!), but as soon as I got on trail, the crowds thinned within the first few tenths of a mile. Still, trails like this are always the ones where you see people with no water, bad footwear, talking on their phones, etc. It can be stressful!

Every single moment of this trail, start to finish, yields a spectacular view. You can go as short or as far as you want and be totally bowled over. Also, there is NO shade on this trail aside from a tiny patch of baby alders at one point.

mountsthelensharrysridge2 Continue reading “Johnston Ridge Observatory”

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Day Trip: Rattlesnake Falls

  • Location: Husum, Washington
  • Google map: don’t bother. From the Hood River Bridge, head west for 1.5 miles then make a right on SR 141. After 6 miles, just past Wet Planet, turn right onto Oak Ridge Rd. for 0.8-mile. Turn Right on Rattlesnake Rd and set your odometer. At the nine mile mark (most of this is unpaved, but fine for 2-wheel drive in drier weather), stay right and soon you’ll see the R1800 junction just after a tree with a “6” on it. Ignore any other trees with “6” on them, just pay attention to the mileage (I saw at least one other “6” tree).  Turn right for another 0.8 until it dead ends.
  • Drive time from Portland: 1h45m
  • Permit: n/a
  • Intensity: Easy (Beginner Level: Doable, but there is a creek crossing). 0.5 mile, little to no elevation gain
  • Open: mid April through July? Depends on the rain, I imagine it completely dries up in hotter months.
  • Pair with: Coyote Wall, Panther Creek Falls, a visit to White Salmon or Hood River

Continue reading “Day Trip: Rattlesnake Falls”

Mt. Adams Wilderness (revisited)

The day I attempted this trail for the first time, was actually the day I decided to start this blog. It was awesome to revisit at it’s peak season and actually complete it this time, as well as revisit the old write-up and see how far this blog has come in almost a year. I’m so endeared to how it has taken shape, figuring out where my strengths and weaknesses are, what matters and doesn’t. This full circle experience has unleashed so much new and pent up inspiration. Continue reading “Mt. Adams Wilderness (revisited)”

Mt. Adams Wilderness

  • Level: Difficult
  • Length: 12.4 miles (with waterfall side trip)
  • Elevation: 1,500+ ft. gain
  • Type: out and back
  • Open: mid-July to mid-October
  • Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
  • Drive time from Portland: 2.5 hours
  • Google map: “South Climb Trail” (screenshot directions, you will lose reception.)
  • Features: South Climb Trailhead, Aiken Lava Bed, Bird Creek Meadows, Round the Mountain Trail, Hellroaring Canyon, Yakama Indian Reservation, Crooked Creek, Crooked Creek Falls, Gifford Pinchot NF

Continue reading “Mt. Adams Wilderness”