Drive up to Windy Ridge and get a view of the vastness of the 1980 blast at Mount St. Helens. Explore some of the forest’s picturesque waterfalls. And while you’re at it, hike to the old fire lookouts and get an unparalleled view of three major peaks in Washington state with the forests sweeping below.
And that’s not even scratching the surface of all that awaits exploration in the 1.3-million acre Gifford Pinchot National Forest, more than a third of which calls Lewis County home. With easy access from Randle, Packwood and the surrounding areas, the forest contains miles upon miles of hiking trails and multiple primitive campsites.
In the fall, the forest opens up to free public huckleberry picking. That’s just one of many lesser-known activities the U.S. Forest Service allows; check their website for more information.
Take some time to visit the Gifford Pinchot and explore the natural wonders that lie beneath the thick green canopy that so many creatures have called home for years.
Find all the hikes, camping spots, scenic drives and so much more at the Gifford Pinchot National Forest's website.
How to get there: Several access points to the Gifford Pinchot exist from Lewis County, with several roads in and around the Morton, Randle, Glenoma and Packwood areas leading into the National Forest. From the west, take Exit 68 from Interstate 5 and head east on U.S. Highway 12. From the north, take State Route 7 from Spanaway down to Morton or State Route 410 to 123 in Chinook Pass, then head west on U.S. Highway 12. From the east, take U.S. 12 west from Yakima.