Location: Gifford Pinchot, Mt. Adams
Roundtrip: 2 miles
Gain: 700 ft.
Steamboat Mountain is, surprisingly, not an overused trail; despite its short length and amazing views, you’re not likely to see more than a few other hikers.
I have two theories as to why this trail seems to lack the popularity it deserves: the first of which is the road to the trailhead.
The road up to the Steamboat Mountain trailhead has its fair share of gravel and dirt. That being said, it is passable for vehicles with only 2WD and a lower clearance. There is a drainage ditch that runs along the right side of the road for a bit, but if you keep to the left you’ll be able to make it through.
My second theory as to why this trail isn’t more popular is the gain to length ratio. You’ll be climbing at least 700 feet within the span of a mile – which is a moderate hike in its own right. However, the bright side is that this trail hosts an abundance of thick huckleberry bushes.
Visit this trail in the late summer and you can plan on stopping often to snack on some of the best huckleberries in the Cascades. This is a wonderful distraction from the elevation gain. Just don’t forget to bring a bucket!
Once you make it to the end of the trail your hard work will be rewarded with wondrous views of some of the largest mountains in Washington state. The most prominent of which will be Mt. Adams, but if you’re lucky you’ll be able to see Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens as well. Make sure you hold on to the little ones as you peek over the edge and back down at the parking area to take a look at the car!
Are There Toilets? : No. Make sure to stop at the Mt. Adams Ranger Station on the way!
How about Picnic Tables? : Nope. Eat at the car before heading up the trail or bring snacks. Just remember, if you pack it in you should pack it out!
Do I Need a Parking Pass? : Yes. You’ll use your Discovery Pass here.
Are Dogs Allowed? : Yes! Be considerate of others and make sure your pets are always nearby and under control.
Can We Camp Here? : Peterson Prarie, Takhlakh Lake, Lower Falls, and Adams Fork are all great options.
When is the Best Time to Visit? : mid to late summer.
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