Quote of the Month:

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own." - Charles Dickens

Windy Ridge Trail

Parent Category: Hiking
Created: 02 December 2016
Location: South Cascades Region, East of Mount St. Helens
Roundtrip: 4 miles 
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Highest Point: 4200 feet
GPS Coordinates: N  46 14.975   W  122 8.203
Visitor’s Information:

Northwest Forest Pass Required

Pictures below will take you on a virtual tour to the unique vantage point of Mount St. Helens Area. Enjoy the beauty of an amazing scenery!

 Photo made from Windy Ridge Trail, South Cascades Region, Mount St. Helens Area
General Information:

Traveling throughout Mount St. Helens Area do not forget to explore the eastern side of this amazing volcano. Of course it will require from you a much longer drive, but your time and endeavor will be rewarded abundantly by stunning views and indescribable landscapes of the territories demolished a little bit more then 35 years ago by an incredibly powerful volcano blast.

Driving along the Forest Service Road #99, that will take you to your final destination – Windy Ridge Viewpoint – don’t miss a chance to stop at all the viewpoints and lookouts along your way, to soak in the beauty of nature reviving step by step after the disaster of 1980, and to get some more information about Mount St. Helens’ history and the eruption itself through numerous interpretive signs and information stands located there.

Photo made from Windy Ridge Trail, South Cascades Region, Mount St. Helens Area

Windy Ridge Viewpoint, because of its remoteness, is not as popular among the visitors of the National Volcanic Monument as for example the Johnston Ridge Observatory, but it is rather an advantage of this viewpoint, as there are no crowds of tourists here. Thus you will be able to admire the spectacular views it endows its guests with, in some solitude, and there will be no problems with parking. 

Windy Ridge Viewpoint is the closest place you can get to Mount St. Helens by a vehicle (only 4 miles away from volcano crater), providing the access to the territory which was completely demolished by the volcano blast in May of 1980. Today you may learn all details of the eruption from the “Ranger Talk”, which is conducted at the Windy Ridge Viewpoint every hour. 

Photo made from Windy Ridge Trail, South Cascades Region, Mount St. Helens Area

After climbing about 400 steps of the “SandLadder” you will get to the best vantage point of this area. The 360 degree view of the eruption zone which opens before you is just fascinating. Here you can see all the scope of terrible devastation which can be done by a furious volcanic blast, and incredible ability of nature to recover after such devastation. 

Photo made from Windy Ridge Trail, South Cascades Region, Mount St. Helens Area

Enjoy the view of Spirit Lake, the waters of which are still partially covered with the floating logs, which 3,5 decades ago used to be a dense forest, covering this territory. On the ridge slopes, now blanketed with grass, beautiful wildflowers, rare bushes and young trees, if you your luck accompanies you during the hike may see dear, peacefully browsing near the water – eloquent evidence that the wildlife is step by step coming back to this area.

Photo made from Windy Ridge Trail, South Cascades Region, Mount St. Helens Area

From the ridge-line of the Windy Ridge you may also see Mount Margaret, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Elk Rock, Pumice Plain, Johnston Ridge and of course, the priceless view of gorgeous Mount St. Helens. 

Enjoy these unforgettable moments!


These pictures were taken on August 10, 2016

Driving Directions:

Coming from Randle, you should drive southwards on Forest Road 25 for approximately 19 miles until its junction with FR #99. At the junction turn to the right, to FR #99. You will need to drive about 16 miles to the end of the road at the Windy Ridge.

GPS Coordinates:  N  46 14.975  W 122 8.203

In order to get directions click on the map below:



Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska

Information: Svetlana Baranova

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