Green Park Saddle (There is an unmarked/forgotten trail up here. It is worth the view and the pumice field experience. Good for a day when Rainier is not visible. There are lots of exploration options. It's hard to get too lost.
Lots of picas and marmots.)
Grand Park (Worth seeing. The view back towards Rainier is tremendous.
I often see marmot, pica, elk and bear.)
The best place to storm watch for the brave/foolish (Busy in summer. Poplar kid hike. Best in fall.)
The trail actually ends about here. (Highly recommend. Stay on the ridge line. )
Best Rainier sledding spot (Hike up Sourdough gap and sled the north side. Usually has plenty of snow through late June/early July. Easy to navigate as a snowshoe.
Warning: The camp robbers (birds) can be excessively friendly. You can get them to land on your hand and eat straight from it! They will try to swipe any food you want though. So watch out.)
Miners Ridge (On a sunny day, this is trail perfection with meadows, usually a breeze and mountain views.
Warning: Think twice about image lake in summer. Very buggy. Miners Ridge is where all the views are anyways.
Nope, not a day hike, but something for the bucket list.)
All closed, but still something to see. (Only if you're enroute. Not worth the side trip.)
Enchantments- lite (If you don't want to deal with the crowds but still want a lake a stunning, rocky, alpine lake, and feel in the mood for bushwacking, there is a trail up here. Kinda. )
Enchantments- named for a reason (Go in fall. It's very, very busy in summer. It is stunning and loads of fun. )
Great lake and fall hike (Beautiful yellow pine in the fall)
I think there's a silver mine here. (But I really don't know.)
Best non-volcano view point (Want forests, mountain meadows, 2 glaciers and a lake in the same throne of a viewpoint? That's Spider Gap. This isn't a day hike (for the ordinary). Follow the Spider Meadow/Phelps Basin trail in. It's a heck of a drive, and a heck of a hike. Pack some camping gear. There is easy access to water the whole way. )
Closed Ice Caves (Yeah, last I heard it was closed. But it's not inaccessible and if you're out here anyway, worth a look around.
There is a TON to explore around here... Look at your map. HINT HINT HINT.)
Natural Bridges (These are cool, but explore around to find many more!!!)
Want to rock hop a lava flow? (This can be accessed best by the June Lake trial (or go around via Loowit!) It's tons of fun that your ankles and calf muscles will be slow to forgive you for. You can explore and pick your own route as much as you wish, but keep the trail markers in sight to pick up the trail again on your way back from exploring.
Caution: This is the side of the mountain where the Bigfoots live.)
Ape Cave (You can park at the Cougar Sno-Park if you want to come in the winter.... Hint. Nobody does that. Hint. Shhhh.)
Rock hopping, ropes and volcanoes (This is a great day adventure that really shows the two aspects of St Helens- the side that got blasted, and the side that didn't. It is a long way by road, but... There are other ways for the creative (and those with some stamina). )
Windy Ridge Access Point (Not worth the drive in and of itself (for that go to Johnston Ridge) but a great access point for some of the best stuff on St Helens. Nobody knows about this access point for some reason. Shhhhh.)
Views into the volcano (This bit of trail is every bit as enticing as it looks. Start at Windy Ridge or, if you've got energy, Johnston Ridge.)
Plains of Abraham (Quite possibly my favorite point along the Loowit Trail. I recommend doing the whole thing, but will just outline some highlights. As a day trip, this is accessible from Ape Canyon or Windy Ridge. I recommend Windy Ridge if you're up for the drive. )
Shovel Lake- my favorite hiking lake in Washington (Yep. This one is my fav. The route is stunning. It drops off immediately from shore. You can dive in no worries right from the edge. It's beautiful, clear and cold. Amazing views and side trails.
ONLY take the Mt Whittier Trail if you are NOT carrying a heavy pack. It is more like a rock climbing route. Very high consequence of a fall. Don't be distracted by all the animal trails off to the side of the Mt Whittier trail... try as you might, you are not a mountain goat.
Also don't do the coldwater lake trail on the south side. No views, lots of bugs.
Either start at Coldwater and go around the lake to the north, or start at Johnston (recommended) pack light and do Mount Whittier (good weather only!!!!!) or Start at Windy Ridge and go around the lakes. If Mount Whittier is sketchy, you can connect Johnston Ridge to Windy Ridge and just have a longer day.)
Worth seeing, million trails (In good weather, this is fantastic. The observatory is great. There are more trails than you can do. Plan a full day and have fun. Typically not too crowded. In the summer, they'll be a few people, but never many once you leave the visitor center.)
Ok- here's your cave (It's essentially a giant boulder to walk under. No- it's no Ape Caves, but it's still pretty cool. Expect company (particularly kids) on the summer weekends.)
HUGE trees. (It's touristy and only worth your time if you're already road tripping this way.)
WINTER ONLY- Snowshoeing heaven (Lives up to it's name. Tons to do and see here. Winter only!!! This is an anthill in the summer. Midweek is the only time to even consider it in summer. Winter... it's Paradise! Wander where you please. )
Narada falls (This is a safe and easy snowshoe with a great view. Great for a day when Rainier is clouded over.)
Best snowshoe spot (ONLY go here in stable, good weather. This is very susceptible to whiteout. People have died here.
If it's blue skies in winter, this is the most beautiful place to be. Follow the tracks or blaze your own route. You can see everything and- since you went in stable good weather- you can follow your tracks back. Stay away from the really steep stuff (even crossing it) unless you have avalanche training, equipment and a buddy with the same. But the non-steep area is huge. You won't feel confined. If you're motivated (very motivated) head up towards Camp Muir. It's a long, above the clouds stunning hike. And the longest butt sled of your life on the way back.)
Mt Angeles Viewpoint (Go up further. Make your own route. Just make sure you can get back down. Watch for marmots and goats.
Klahhane Ridge is nice too.)