Hike to Norway Pass

4.4 Miles Round Trip - 860 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Norway Pass Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Kim Morris

See spectacular views of Spirit Lake, thousands of sun bleached trees all blown down at the same time, in in the same direction and the scarred mountain itself. This is a great way to get a glance at a wild, American icon.

Just 96 miles south of Seattle, and 50 miles northeast of Portland, Mt. St. Helens and its wild, rugged beauty awaits you.

Starting at the Norway Pass Trailhead parking lot, walk a dusty and sometimes ashy trail through recovering forest, low brush, wildflowers and blown down, sun bleached logs. The destruction is still palpable all these years later.

In .9 miles you will run into the junction with the Independence Ridge Trail (227A). Turn right and continue another 1.3 miles to Norway Pass.

You will gain elevation steadily so make sure you carry plenty of water and wear sun protection. The trial is exposed, young willows provide minimal shade.

You will turn left around a large prominence and all at once the mountain will appear. It's a "whoa" worthy experience.

Once at the pass, grab a seat on a log, prepare your lunch and drink in this one of a kind view of Spirit Lake. Watch as the log jam makes is ghostly journey around the coves and along the shoreline. Ponder the force of the blast and the destruction still visible after all these years. Inspect the curious uniformity all around you; the logs appearing to be laid down carefully and with intention.

When you are ready to return, retrace your steps.

If you want to explore more, you have the option to continue up for about half a mile on to Bear Pass. If the weather is clear you may be treated to views of Rainier and Adams. If it is very clear, you may even see Mt. Hood.

Detailed driving directions can be found at www.fs.usda.gov, search for Norway Pass Trailhead.


Easy Parking


4.4 Miles
860 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

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Overall rating: 

Gorgeous hike

Beautiful hike the entire time. The power of St. Helens is visible with the still knocked flat trees in all directions— pretty epic to see firsthand. The rest of the hike is full of color and excellent views. Park pass required (discover pass works) and if you don’t have one, stop five miles out and grab one. Note: there are two paths to take at the .9 mile marker and as of July 2019 the one indicated in this listing is closed due to a washout. But, go left instead and you’ll still have a (less traveled but) great hike.