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Wright Meadow Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Wright Meadow on a foggy day (bobcat)
Bitter hedgehog (Sarcodon scabrosus), Wright Meadows Trail (bobcat)
Big trees, Wright Meadows Trail (bobcat)
Spring on the Wright Meadows Trail (bobcat)
The Wright Meadows Trail to Wright Meadow (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Wright Meadows TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Wright Meadow
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 9.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2625 feet
  • High Point: 3,700 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

If you feel you've "done" the Lewis River Trail, then consider hiking one of the trails that ascend the high ridge on the west side of the valley. The Wright Meadows Trail offers nothing spectacular - old growth trees and an expansive meadow at the destination - but it entails a modicum of elevation gain and, on a day of low clouds or drizzle, you're not missing any wide-ranging views. Be aware that dirt bikes are permitted to use the trail, but their presence will be loudly announced and you will have plenty of time to step off the path.

Cross the road and head up. The trail sign for the Wright Meadow Trail #80 says it’s 3/4 miles to the Cussed Hollow junction and 3 3/4 miles to Road 93. Hike up under Douglas-firs and western hemlocks with an Oregon grape, vine maple and salal understory. Switchback up three times until the grade becomes less steep but continues to rise. Silver fir, noble fir and western red-cedar also become part of the forest mix. Note some large old-growth Douglas-firs. Come to the Wright Meadows-Cussed Hollow Trail Junction and go right.

As you ascend, you will notice more big trees. Cross a small brook and head up with Copper Creek running to your right. The trail becomes steep again and switchbacks. Cross Copper Creek, head up, walk on the level, ascend, and then reach level ground again. The trail is often ditch-like on the uphill sections. There are impressive Douglas-firs and cedars in this area. Rise gently and pass a spring area on the right. Cross a creek on a footbridge and reach a junction with an unmarked trail which motorcycles use to connect with an old forest road in the Alec Creek valley. Keep hiking up and then come to a level section. Enter secondary forest as the trail rises along the steep western edge of the Alec Creek valley. Reach an open quarry area with road access. The trail keeps to the right and reenters woods. Head into a clearcut which offers a smorgasbord of huckleberries and blueberries in late summer. The trail runs level through lichen-draped old growth with Alec Creek flowing to the right. Cross a trickling brook. The trail is actually graveled here as you pass through a hunters’ camp and then head back into old growth. Reach FR 93 and walk to the left for 30 yards, where you pick up the trail again at a road junction.

The trail descends from a sign saying that Wright Meadow is 1 1/2 miles away. Keep dropping in old growth Douglas-fir, western hemlock, silver fir woods with some noble firs. Pass through a clearcut choked with huckleberry bushes. Keep right where a trail bears off to the left, and reenter old growth. Switchback down to Wright Creek, and cross a wooden footbridge before entering a clearcut. Then cross a dry creek bed and head up to the four-way Wright Meadows-Craggy Peak Trail Junction. Keep straight here and walk up to a road. Cross the road at a trail sign saying it's a quarter mile to Wright Meadow. The trail drops in old growth forest and you can spot Wright Meadow about 50 yards to the left. Walk through the clear understory to reach the meadow: look for elk here at the beginning or the end of the day. (If you reach the trail sign at the old junction with the Craggy Peak Trail, then you’ve gone too far.)


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Pass not required
  • Share trail with dirt bikes and mountain bikes

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Lone Butte, WA #365
  • 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
  • Adventure Maps: Hood River, Oregon, Trail Map
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount St. Helens - Mt. Adams

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hiking: Mount St. Helens by Craig Romano & Aaron Theisen
  • Day Hiking: South Cascades by Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer

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.