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.

Pack List

  • $5.00 per vehicle per day - On site payment is NOT available. Passes available at Bear Meadows, Meta Lake, Windy Ridge or online.
  • Interagency and Northwest Forest Pass are acceptable
  • Hiking Boots
  • Backpack
  • Water - water in NOT available at the trailhead
  • Food
  • 10 Essentials
  • Layers
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun protection
  • Trekking poles (optional)
  • Camera
  • Wide angle lens
  • Circular Polarizer
  • ND Filters
  • Tripod
Show More
RT Distance 4.4 Miles
Elevation Gain 860 Feet
Activities Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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