Mt Adams Wilderness, Washington

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Mount Adams Wilderness

Washington’s Mount Adams Wilderness lies along the western slopes of Mount Adams within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest—from rainforest to desert, this wilderness exemplifies the diverse ecology of the Pacific Northwest.

  • Located in SW Washington State on the west side of Mount Adams, Washington’s second highest mountain at 12,326 feet.
  • Mountain climbing on volcanic Mount Adams is one of the most popular activities here.
  • Hiking, horseback riding, camping, and fishing also can be enjoyed.

Overview

The Mount Adams Wilderness covers some 47,000 acres on the western slopes of Mount Adams in Washington State. The area’s main attraction is Mount Adams herself, the second highest peak in the Pacific Northwest at 12,326 feet. This wilderness provides an excellent example of the diverse ecosystems that can be found in the Northwest—from mountains and volcanic flows, to fir and hemlock rainforest, to wildflower meadows and river valleys, to high desert pine and sagebrush.

Mount Adams offers a popular playground for mountaineers, considered perhaps the best mountain climbing area in Washington. Like many of the Cascade Range, Adams is a glacial sleeping volcano, and wilderness trails take hikers past glaciers, ancient volcanic flows, and rock formations. Fishing, horseback riding, skiing, and camping also are popular here. Mount Adams Wilderness is bounded on the east by the Yakima Nation.

Location & Information

Mount Adams Wilderness is located in southwestern Washington State on the west side of Mount Adams within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The wilderness can be accessed by taking State Highway 141 north off the Lewis & Clark Highway (Highway 14) toward Trout Lake.

Activities

  • Hiking: Two popular trails are the Around-the-Mountain Trail (8.3 miles of rolling scenery around the base of Mount Adams); and the Killen Creek Trail (on the NW side of the wilderness, 3 miles past a historic cabin site).
  • Horseback riding: Many of the trails are open to equestrian traffic.
  • Mountain climbing: Adams can be scaled via several routes of varying difficulty levels; the most popular is the South Climb.
  • Camping, fishing, swimming, and cross-country skiing.