Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Siouxon Peak Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking west to Huffman Peak from Siouxon Peak (bobcat)
Siouxon Falls (bobcat)
Old-growth cedar swamp, Chinook Trail (bobcat)
Mt. Adams from the Siouxon Peak Ridge (bobcat)
Mt. St. Helens from the Siouxon Peak Ridge (bobcat)
The Siouxon Creek ford at the end of summer (bobcat)
The Siouxon Peak Loop (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Siouxon TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Siouxon Peak
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Lollipop loop
  • Distance: 17.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 4730 feet
  • High Point: 4,169 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

This wide-ranging lollipop loop takes in all the delights of the popular Siouxon Creek Hike and adds expansive views and magnificent old growth stands of western red-cedar, Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and silver fir. After enjoying the crystal clear pools and tumbling falls of Siouxon Creek, you’ll ford Chinook Creek at Chinook Falls and hike up a steep slope, pass through a classic old-growth upland bog, and reach the ridge line. Here the views extend north and east, with Mount Rainier on the horizon and no higher peaks impeding vistas to Mount Adams and Mount Saint Helens. The hike continues to rise along the ridge on old forest tracks before reaching the old lookout site of Siouxon Peak, from which you can look directly south to Mount Hood. Descend via the Wildcat Trail to view tall Wildcat Falls, ford Siouxon Creek, and stride back to your car through the cool creek-bottom forest.

From the parking area, hike fifty yards down to the Siouxon Trail #130 and go right. Descend in a lush slope forest of Douglas-fir and western hemlock with a carpet of oxalis and sword fern. Note the large snags from the period of the Yacolt Burn. Take the footbridge over West Creek and note the campsites below the trail in this area. Hike a level stretch of trail above lovely Siouxon Creek, pass another campsite, and then a false trail leading to the right. Keep to the main trail to reach the Siouxon-Horseshoe Ridge Trail West Junction. Keep straight and drop gently. A detour takes you away from the undercut creek bank. Undulate along, passing under a dripping mossy face and come to Horseshoe Creek. A short path down to the left gives you a good look at Horseshoe Creek Falls' upper tier. Cross Horseshoe Creek on a footbridge and come to the unsigned Siouxon-Horseshoe Creek Falls Trail Junction. This spur trail takes you down to an area of campsites on a bench and also a more complete view of triple-tiered 60-foot Horseshoe Creek Falls.

Back on the Siouxon Trail, cross a small creek and continue past more campsites. Reach the rotting bench at the viewpoint to Siouxon Falls. The creek here plunges noisily through a rocky cleft and forms a large pool which is great for a dip on a sultry summer day. Continuing on, the trail drops. There is a spur to the top of a small waterfall on Siouxon Creek. Descend to a lush bottomland and rise again. Pass some campsites and reach the Siouxon-Siouxon Crossing Trail Junction marked for the Wildcat Trail. This is where you will return to the Siouxon Trail when you complete the loop.

Soon come to the Siouxon-Horseshoe Ridge Trail East Junction and continue along the creek. Walk about fifty feet above Siouxon Creek, passing a small waterfall and then a dripping rock face. Get views of the maple-shaded creek and pass the confluence with Chinook Creek. Make a very slippery crossing of a small creek that makes several drops to the Siouxon. Reach the Siouxon-Chinook Trail Junction at a footbridge over a deep narrows and go left.

Look upstream to rushing 14-mile Falls and pass campsites on the Chinook Trail #130A. Head up Chinook Creek, noting a small falls down to the left and pass an unmarked trail leading up to the right: this is old Siouxon Trail alignment, still easily followed, that runs up Siouxon Creek's east slope. Reach the crossing below Chinook Falls. The 60-foot waterfall is best viewed from mid-creek or the west bank. The crossing here is easy but, if the log down over the creek is too slippery, you may have to get your feet wet. Carry poles for better balance. After crossing the creek, you will reach the Chinook-Wildcat Trail Junction.

Go right here on the Chinook Trail: it’s about four miles up from here to FR 6403 (The 1 ¾ miles indicated on the sign refers an old trailhead on a now-decommissioned forest road). The narrow trail ascends the steep slope under Douglas-firs and western hemlocks with an understory of sword fern, huckleberry, Oregon grape, little wild rose, vine maple, and salal. Get a couple of glimpses of Chinook Falls below as you hike around a rock face. Rise and cross a gully with Chinook Creek rushing below to the right. Keep ascending on a mossy carpet among snags from the 100-year burn, passing a couple of large Douglas-firs that survived that conflagration. Cross some boggy seeps and then a rocky creek bed. The trail rises steeply again and then, on a gentler incline, passes through a thicket of vine maple, wood fern, devil’s club, and salmonberry. Look around for some massive Douglas-firs in the vicinity. The path continues through a mossy, boggy old growth forest of Douglas-fir and western red-cedar. After passing through this unexpected wonderland, the trail swings right and reaches the end of an abandoned forest road.

The road bed becomes the trail as you hike gently up among silver fir, western hemlock, and Douglas-fir. Pass an old signpost and a campfire circle. Drop gradually past more massive Douglas-firs and then rise on an undulating track. Keep ascending to reach the Chinook Trail-FR 6403 Junction and go left on gravel FR 6403.

The road quickly becomes impassable to vehicles as you cross a slide above a clearcut. There are expansive views to Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, and the Swift Reservoir. The old vehicle track rounds the steep east end of the Siouxon Peak ridge to offer views back across the clearcut to Mount Adams and Goat Rocks. You need to carefully negotiate a dangerous slide that has obliterated the road bed and then brush through a dense colony of Sitka alder. Look down the slope into fine old growth forest and then make a sharp curve to the left and head up on a rubbly road bed, first getting a full-on view of Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier. Hike on the level along an old growth silver fir ridge. Now rise gain, still on the road bed, until it ends at a rocky slope and becomes a trail again.

There’s an old trail post here at a switchback as you begin the Huffman Peak Trail. Switchback twice again and reach a spur out to a clifftop viewpoint, carpeted with pinemat manzanita and common juniper, looking north and east in a broad vista to the Washington Cascades. Make a ridgetop traverse to where an unsigned side trail leads off to the left through bear-grass and huckleberry. This spur will take you to the rocky summit of Siouxon Peak. Mount Hood can be seen to south, partially eclipsed by Observation Peak. You can’t see Mount Saint Helens, obscured by a forest wall of noble fir, but the other Washington volcanoes are visible. A few vestiges of the old lookout can also be found.

Down on the main trail, continue west by traversing down among silver fir and noble fir but passing one massive old western hemlock. Undulate long the ridge and pass a stone fire circle. After this, reach the Wildcat-Huffman Peak Trail Junction and go left to rise on a narrow, rooty trail.

The Wildcat Trail ascends through a carpet of bear-grass almost 300 feet to a ridge crest. Then, drop down the ridge in silver and noble fir woods. The trail levels for a short distance and then drops again. Pass through a brushy patch of younger trees and keep descending via a couple of short switchbacks. Make a descending traverse among Douglas-firs and western hemlocks before switchbacking. Descend on another traverse and then wind down through salal and Oregon grape before switchbacking eight times and traversing. As you switchback again, you will hear Wildcat Falls tumbling below. Come to a clifftop viewpoint looking down at the top of 200-foot Wildcat Falls where they plunge over exposed andesite cliffs. Switchback down to a manzanita promontory to get another views of the falls. Now make five more switchbacks down under a rock face to a viewpoint looking across to Wildcat Falls splashing into its forest pool.

Descend the trail, passing above Lower Wildcat Falls and their inviting plunge pool. Come to the Wildcat-Siouxon Crossing Trail Junction and go right. Pass a rather confined campsite at Siouxon Creek and attempt the Siouxon at Wildcat Creek Crossing. This crossing is an easy ford or rockhop in late summer/early fall, but is a much deeper prospect during the rainy season. Once across the creek, note the little iron-stained seep on the south bank of the Siouxon and take the trail up past some camspites to the Siouxon-Siouxon Crossing Trail Junction, where you go left for the three-mile lope back to the parking area.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Lookout Mtn, WA #396
  • Siouxon Roadless Area (USFS)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument & Administrative Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount St. Helens - Mt. Adams

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Day Hiking: Mount St. Helens by Craig Romano & Aaron Theisen
  • 95 Virtual Hikes of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument by Northwest Hiker
  • Skamania 231: A Scrambler's Guide by Kelly Wagner
  • Exploring Washington's Wild Areas by Marge & Ted Mueller
  • Hiking the Gifford Pinchot Backcountry by the Columbia Group Sierra Club

More Links


Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.