Readers' Choice Northwest: South Spur, Mt. Adams, WA

Climb the Northwest's tallest nontechnical volcano.

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Golden Larches – Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA | Wahtum Lake, OR | Lost River Range, ID | South Spur, Mt. Adams, WA | Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier NP, WA | North Cascades NP, WA

This 12,276-foot, ice-draped monolith may look like expert-only terrain, but the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range is a gentle giant. Plus, notes Wes Cooper, “The summit overlooks a huge variety of terrain: the plains of eastern Washington, Mt. Hood towering over the Columbia River basin, Mt. St. Helens, Puget Sound, the Olympics, and Mt. Rainier.”

From South Climb trailhead, you’ll set off along McDonald Ridge on Trail 183, with the mountain vistas expanding with every step. The 12 miles (round-trip) and elevation gain/loss of nearly 7,000 feet make scaling Adams a burly day (or turn it into an overnight by camping at the Lunch Counter, at 9,500 feet). Carry an ice axe and crampons for better purchase on firm morning snow. Pick up a Cascades Volcano Pass ($15 Friday through Sunday, $10 weekdays) at the Mt. Adams or Cowlitz Valley Ranger Stations. 


Driving From WA 141 in Trout Lake, drive two miles north on the Mt. Adams Recreation Hwy., then turn left on FR 80. In four miles, turn right onto FR 8040. At Morrison Creek Campground, turn right onto FR 500 and continue to Cold Springs Campground and the trailhead.

Map Green Trails Mount Adams ($6,

Contact (509) 395-3400,

Trip Id536184