The Trail of Two Forests, Washington


Adventure Guru
Jan 20, 2012
nick wanted more ideas for the trip he's planning to the Pacific Northwest, so I thought I'd post another fun little spot about an hour or so north of Portland.

The Trail of Two Forests is on the south side of Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument. You miss all of the new eruption geology on the south side, but get to experience some pretty cool volcanic remnants from an older age. The first stop we made was at the Trail of Two Forests. There's a $5 parking fee, but it's not bad.
I thought this sign at the trailhead was pretty neat. You get to hike through a forest, and look at what used to be a forest was encased in lava.
The trail is all a boardwalk. It's about 1/4 mile long. They don't want you to leave the trail because of the hidden cavities in the rock.
You can see in this picture where a log was that got covered in lava. The rock has collapsed, but the tree cast is still visible.
The best part of the hike is a part called "The Crawl". The lava covered the base of a tree and two tree trunks that were interconnected. You climb down the ladder into the hole left when the stump decayed, then you crawl through the tubes left when the logs decayed. This is amazingly cool!
This sign shows how it looks.
Here's what it looks like inside. Rock has hardened around the rough bark. The trunks are probably 3' across. Kids just absolutely love this- big kids included. I can't remember of I crawled through two or three times.

One last tree stump hole. The trees died after the lava came through and hardened. Now they are holes that are 6 feet deep. Geology rocks!

Cross-posted from my blog at

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