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Ghost Lake

South Cascades

Location

South Cascades -- Mount St. Helens
View map below

Length

5.2 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 640 ft.
Highest Point: 4000 ft.

Rating

1.00 out of 5

 
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 
 

Hike to a lovely, glittering, quiet little lake that at Mount St. Helens that few visit. You’ll have to work for it, of course. But it’s a neat little treat to share with friends, or head to it solo for some solitude.

Start your hike on the Norway Pass trail. Just a few feet from the parking area, there’s a sign to your right marked “Boundary Trail 1”. Head for that, hopping on the Boundary Trail – a hiking route that begins at Coldwater Lake and continues all the way to Mount Adams. But you’re just doing a short stint on it today. Getting onto the Boundary Trail redirects you back to Forest Service Road 26, which you’ll need to cross (carefully of course). The trail picks up on the other side and immediately starts climbing.

Traverse north, climbing constantly on semi-exposed trail on the flanks of Bismarck Mountain. You’ll be able to see the Norway Pass trailhead for quite a while, and then all of a sudden the route makes a 90-degree turn east and heads up and over a low pass.

Now you’re hiking above a grassy meadow, heading into quieter backcountry. The Boundary Trail doesn’t see maintenance consistently, and you’ll notice it through here. There’s a lot of brush, particularly once you begin descending out of the hanging valley and into the drainage for Clearwater Creek.

Switchback gently downhill. Notice the banked turns. These are built for cyclists, who are also permitted to use the Boundary Trail. They also moderate the grade of the trail, which hikers benefit from! Your last switchback turns north and hikes along the valley, ending at a creek crossing, just under two miles from the trailhead. Unfortunately, the bridge spanning the creek is gone, but crossing is possible downstream just a few feet from the bridge site via a log bridge.

Immediately after the crossing is the junction with the Ghost Lake trail. Say goodbye to the Boundary and continue on the Ghost Lake trail, which is likely in greater disrepair than the Boundary. Look out for the tread below the brush, and keep an eye out for sinkholes!

Ghost Lake is 1.7 miles from its junction with the Boundary Trail. You'll hear the water before you see it. There appears to be a fork in the trail, but you'll want to head to the right. The trees here are quite overgrown, but there is a faint boot path that will lead you to the lake's edge. Enjoy the sweet little lakeside setting, as well as the buttes above and the peak across the lake before returning the way you came.

 

Ghost Lake

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.3051, -122.0826 Open map in new window

Trailhead

South Cascades -- Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

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

National Geographic Mount St. Helens Mount Adams Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Buy the Green Trails Mount St. Helens NVM No. 332S map

Getting There

From State Highway 12 in Randle, take Hwy 131S south for 2.8 miles to FR 25. Continue on FR 25 for another 24.3 miles to the junction with FR 99. Turn right onto FR 99 towards Windy Ridge. Drive approximately 9.2 miles to FR 26 and turn right. The Norway Pass Trailhead will be .09 miles on your left on FR 26. 

From Cougar, take Lewis River Road east for 2.8 miles. The road then changes to FR 90. Continue on FR 90 for 16 miles and stay to the left on FR 25, pass the Pine Creek Information Center. Drive FR 25 for 25 miles to the junction of FR 99. Turn left onto FR 99 towards Windy Ridge. Drive approximately 9.2 miles to FR 26 and turn right. The Norway Pass Trailhead will be .09 miles on your left on FR 26.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 

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Ghost Lake

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