Hike along a lush green valley wall above Goat Creek in the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Because this part of the monument is so infrequently visited, it's possible you won't see another soul on the trail, meaning you'll get to have the incredible Cathedral Falls all to yourself.
This is a perfect hike if you want to get a feel for Washington's forests, though it's not necessarily indicative of what the rest of the National Volcanic Monument is like. The north side of St. Helens was the least affected by the 1980 blast, and the forest that the Goat Creek Trail winds through is home to huge, old trees that survived the eruption that obliterated the forests on the other side of the mountain.
The trail leaves a small parking area large enough for five cars and traverses the hillside through quiet forest of red cedar and hemlock. Mossy rocks, and plenty of trailside distractions like chipmunks and slugs will keep kids entertained. Continue gently climbing to Cathedral Falls, the highlight of the hike. The trail provides an intimate, 360-degree view of the falls, leading hikers towards the base of an enormous waterfall, and then winding behind it.
Hike under a cave and enjoy the spray from the falls, but be careful - the trail drops steeply away off to your left here and a wrong step can mean a far fall.
After getting your fill of the falls, continue on for about a half mile until you arrive at a junction with Goat Creek. Go straight ahead here, and find another creek crossing in another half mile. Stop here to cool your heels and soak in the sights and sounds of nature surrounding you before you head home.
- 11.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 3,200 feet
- Highest Point
- 4,600 feet
Hiking Goat Creek
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 46.4305, -122.1525 Open in Google Maps