- Rating: Moderate
- Activity: Nordic & Snowshoe
- Distance: 4.4 miles round-trip
- Time: 4 hours
Don’t let the summery name fool you. During June Lake’s short but sublime winter recreation season, which runs through March, this trail calls for powder prowess. Located just south of the Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument, this alpine wilderness trek lets snowshoers and skiers break trail across glittering snowfields backdropped by dizzying views of the sleeping giant draped in its blanket of white. The trail is also closed to snowmobiles, which means that tromps through stands of Douglas fir and Western hemlock to the 60-foot-high waterfall tumbling into an ancient glacial lake can be enjoyed in snowy solitude.
ROUTE: From the parking lot, follow the Pine Marten Trail for ¾ of a mile to meet up with the June Lake trailhead. This well-marked trail ascends 700 gentle feet on its way to open meadows in full view of the volcano. The last few hundred yards descend beneath a woodsy canopy before opening onto a snowfield, where your efforts are rewarded with the sight of June Lake and its centerpiece waterfall cascading out of thick groves of virgin timber framed by a series of rugged cliffs.
DIRECTIONS: Take I-5 north 27 miles to Woodland and take exit 21 onto Washington Rte 503. Travel 28 miles to the small community of Cougar. Continue for 6.8 miles and turn left onto Forest Road 83. Go 5.7 miles until you arrive at Marble Mountain Sno-Park. A $10 parking pass is required and available at the gas station in Cougar.