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Pine Creek Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The Pine Creek Shelter (bobcat)
Oval-leaved blueberries (Vaccinium ovalifolium) (bobcat)
Unmaintained section of the Pine Creek Trail (bobcat)
Sketch of Pine Creek Trail route (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Pine Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Pine Creek Shelter or Muddy River Lahar
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 0.8 miles round-trip to the shelter; add another 1.2 miles round-trip to the Muddy River Lahar
  • Elevation gain: 90 feet
  • High Point: 3010 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer through Fall for hiking; Winter - early Spring for snowshoeing
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



The short Pine Creek Trail #216C heads through quiet woods to a historic shelter. From here, there is the option of following an unmaintained portion of trail to the edge of the Muddy River Lahar. It is worth noting that the trail does not follow Pine Creek and the shelter is marked on topo maps as the Jackpine Shelter.

Cross FR 83 and pick up the signed Pine Creek Trail as it heads into a dry forest of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and silver fir. Much of the tread is carpeted with Douglas-fir and hemlock cones. Also, in late summer, there are huckleberries and strawberries ripe for the plucking. The tread rises almost imperceptibly to the Pine Creek Shelter. A sign here tells that the shelter was constructed in 1921-22 and restored in the early 1990s.

West of the shelter is a dry creek bed that offers views up to Mount Saint Helens. If you want to continue hiking, head up northeast of the shelter to pick up the unmaintained trail that mostly keeps on a level contour as it veers east towards the Muddy River Lahar. Noble fir, western white pine, lodgepole pine, and mountain hemlock dominate these woods that have established on an older lahar. There are dry creek beds to cross and a few detours are needed to circumvent blowdown. When you reach the edge of the Muddy River Lahar, the trail peters out. Trees have grown up here and it would be easy to lose your entry point if you wander too far in, so this is a good place to turn around.

Note that there is no water near the shelter in summer. It is an excellent winter destination from June Lake and a snowshoe/ski loop is also possible using FR 83, Trail #216C, the Muddy River Lahar, and then the Loowit Trail back. Adventurous summer hikers may want to attempt a loop by heading cross-country about 1,200 feet up the Muddy River Lahar along Shoestring Creek to the Loowit Trail, go east and then down the Ape Canyon Hike route. It would be one mile back along FR 83 to the Pine Creek Trailhead.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • none


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Mount St. Helens, WA #364
  • Green Trails Maps: Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument, WA #332S
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument & Administrative Area
  • 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 and 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.