Hike to a peak with 360 views!
Short, steep hike to a peak with 360 degree views. On clear days you can see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. Good views of swift reservoir below. Many would argue that Mt. Mitchell has the best views of Mt. St. Helens south flank and I would agree. Spring is probably the ideal time as Mt. St. Helens will still be snow-covered. If you hike in the early morning it's a good chance you'll see elk near the trailhead. From the trailhead it's a steep 3 mile trek to the top but the views are worth it. About 1.7 miles in, ignore the faint trail to the left as it's for the North Siouxon Creek trail. At the top you can see remains of the old lookout tower.
The rocky outcrop at the top gives you 360 degree views to the surrounding area. One of the premiere hikes with views in the area. On the way back down, take the faint side trail at the second switchback about 0.8 miles to sugarloag ridge which offers another rocky outcrop to get good views. From Portland/Vancouver, take I-5 North to Woodland, exit 21 and head East for 31 miles, following the signs for Cougar. 3.2 miles past Cougar turn right on an unmarked paved road (if you past the sign for the end of Highway 503 spur you've gone too far). Take the unmarked road for 0.3 miles. After crossing a bridge, turn left on an unmarked gravel road. Follow it for 1.6 miles and turn right on a gravel road marked "10". Take that road for 2.4 miles (almost all uphill). After 2.4 miles fork right and take this road 0.2 miles to the trailhead at the end. Some potholes and lots of gravel but should be passable by almost any car.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.