Hike the Lava Canyon

Washington Lava Canyon Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Running, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    6.5 Miles

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall

This is a beautiful hike that crosses an amazing suspension bridge and has both a shorter and longer option, perfect for all ages and skill levels.

Starting at the Lava Canyon Trailhead, you will walk on a paved trail down a few switchbacks until you reach the river, where you can go right or left. Either way takes you to the suspension bridge, but I recommend going right if you are following this guide. It will make more sense in a moment.

After a little more than a half mile, you will reach a suspension bridge. This bridge is very shaky, and when you step on the planks, they have a bit of give. I would not recommend crossing this for someone afraid of heights, but personally, I loved it. After you cross the bridge choose to either continue the loop and head back, which totals 1.1 miles round trip, or go down the path to your right.

This path takes you down in to the canyon, but is a lot of downhill. Keep that in mind when you are going down, because you will have to walk back up, which for most is harder than going downhill. You will pass multiple falls and rushing water to your right, and you can find some viewpoints to see these spectacular falls.

Eventually, you will reach a ladder. Climb down the ladder to get to the bottom of the canyon. Keep going down the trail to find more rushing waters and amazing views,

When you are done exploring the bottom, start your trip back to the top. Once you reach the suspension bridge, continue on the loop back to the parking lot, or feel free to cross the bridge a few more times and snap some photos!

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Hiking poles and hiking shoes (optional, but recommended)
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Reviews

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We decided to do this trail kind of last minute since it was short and the sun was setting. We were the only people on the entire hike and we really enjoyed having the place to ourselves. It was my first time on a suspension bridge so that was exciting! And watching the water run through where lava once had really got me thinking. It was definitely a cool experience.

10 months ago
10 months ago

It was far too crowded during my visit to be enjoyable and full of people acting not sensibly on the trail: a grown man playing with Legos at the entrance to a suspension bridge, blocking others from using it, people trying to cross the slatted, shaky bridge with panicky dogs (and a few cats too, weirdly); one dude blasting his tunes from his phone (seriously, wear headphones); a guy with a 3 year old tied to him walking along the waterfalls; a Darwin Award seeking family climbing cliffs for selfies. It reminded me of how hiking was in the popular section of Yellowstone (without people molesting bison and falling into geysers). Empty, this would be a beautiful hike. The glacial water has that beautiful robin's egg blue color and the upper bridge is perfect for long exposure shots of the falls. There are dramatic views of the Southern Cascades. Perhaps this would be a good off season hike.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Relatively short which is kind of disappointing in the sense of working for that reward. But the views are magnificent for how short it is! explore the area and if you have time go down the more difficult path so you can see the rest of the canyon! Great one to pair with the Ape cave visit!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Austin JacksonExplorer

Photographer and adventurer living in Portland, Oregon. Contact: austinjamesjackson@hotmail.com

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