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Upper Siouxon Creek Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Middle Siouxon Falls (bobcat)
Large Douglas-fir, Siouxon Trail (bobcat)
Ferny bench on the old Siouxon Trail (bobcat)
Chinook Falls on Chinook Creek (bobcat)
Upper Siouxon Falls (bobcat)
The route using the old and new trails on upper Siouxon Creek (bobcat) (not a GPS track) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Upper Siouxon TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Chinook Falls
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Lollipop loop
  • Distance: 11.9 miles round-trip
  • Elevation gain: 3525 feet
  • High Point: 3,485 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Late Spring through Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

The Siouxon Creek Hike is a great, but crowded, initial foray into this roadless area. This hike takes you into far less traveled country, but also with beautiful creek views and more interesting waterfalls. While most of the Siouxon Roadless Area is part of the 1902 Yacolt Burn and the lush forest is really only 100 years old or less, the trail along the upper Siouxon takes you into true old growth and displays some impressive Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western red-cedar. You can do this as a lollipop loop by following the old route of the Siouxon Trail high up on the eastern slope above the creek, visiting the always pleasing Chinook Falls, and returning via a newer route to admire the attractions of the upper Siouxon at close hand.

From the parking area, hike down a mini-talus slope, with its resident population of squeaking pikas, and past a post into a montane woodland of silver and noble fir. The trail drops steeply and then makes some short switchbacks. Douglas-fir and western hemlock now become part of the forest mix. Descend via six bigger switchbacks and reach a more gradual slope with a huckleberry understory. Traverse down and cross a creek. Gently rise and appreciate the many large old-growth Douglas-firs, cedars and hemlocks on this lush, high bench. Cross a second creek and wade through huckleberry bushes overhanging the trail. About 100 yards to your left, you can glimpse a clearcut that verges on this preserved swath of old growth. Detour around some blowdown, and drop into a woodland of hemlock and Douglas-fir with a clear understory.

Traverse down the slope, switchback, and cross a vine maple-fringed talus slope bustling with pikas. Looking north you can see the forested ridge of Siouxon Peak. Switchback to recross the talus and traverse down before making two long switchbacks. Pass below a dripping, moss-cloaked basalt wall guarded by a large cedar. Cross a rocky gully and notice the large scorched snags from the fierce 1902 Yacolt Burn. Switchback down three more times and reach the bottom of the slope. Here, look to your right to see a trail leading down to a small camp spot. If you want to do the loop using the old route of the Siouxon Trail head down at this spot.

From the Siouxon-Old Siouxon Trail Junction, drop down towards the campsite. A large, hash-marked log, now covered in moss, is the official “bridge” here, but it is suspended 12 feet above the rocky river bed. Look to where this log meets another log on the opposite bank. That is where you will pick up the trail. There are other possible log crossings, but all are slippery, and it is recommended that you ford the creek. The trail leads to the creek and, after making the ford, possible at most times of the year, pick up the trail on the opposite bank.

It is not difficult to follow this abandoned section of the Siouxon Creek Trail for its entire length. First, the track is a little overgrown as it heads downstream close to the creek. Head up on a mossy tread and pass above a spring. You might encounter a little blowdown in spots, but volunteers do keep the trail generally clear. Traverse along the slope; the local elk herd keeps the upper section of this trail well-used. Undulate along, but continue to rise high above the creek. Then make a level traverse in a salal understory. The trail then descends gradually, passing around the nose of a ridge and dropping to cross a creek. Rise out of this gully and then drop again to step across a trickling brook. Traverse the slope on a mossy carpet to head in and out of a gully. Hike on the level again before making a gentle descent. You may notice Fourteen-mile Falls on Siouxon Creek below.

Reach the Chinook-Old Siouxon Trail Junction and go right to view Chinook Falls. A scramble trail leads along the bank to a cobbled bar which gives a full frontal view of the 60-foot falls. Return down Chinook Creek, taking note of a beautiful pool and small waterfalls as this creek tumbles to its confluence with the Siouxon. Pass campsites to the left and right and reach the footbridge over Siouxon Creek. Across the bridge is the Siouxon-Chinook Trail Junction, where you go left to head up the newer, creekside section of the Siouxon Trail.

Now you can relish the most beautiful section of this hike. Get a view of eight-foot Fourteen-mile Falls and hike up a slope past some very large Douglas-firs. See a five-foot waterfall on the creek below and then drop along a steep slope to admire the clear waters of the Siouxon. The trail rises above 40-foot Middle Siouxon Falls; this, the largest waterfall on Siouxon Creek itself, can be better viewed by scrambling down from a low point on the trail and then bushwhacking along the creek to some large logs. Back on the trail, drop down again and hike above a campsite. Pass above a little spring and then take a short spur to get a view of sixteen-foot Upper Siouxon Falls, which plunges dramatically over a ledge into a beautiful pool.

Keep ascending gently in mossy woods. The trail briefly reaches the verge of the creek and then arrives at the wide but shallow Calamity Creek Crossing. You’ll have to ford this creek; after this, the trail ascends higher on a steep slope, still with views of the limpid Siouxon below. Reach the Siouxon-Old Siouxon Trail Junction and continue up the steepening slope the way you came down.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $1 toll each way at the Bridge of the Gods

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

  • The Forgotten Forest: Exploring the Gifford Pinchot by the Washington Trails Association

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.