Vicinity Location: 51 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon in the Mt. St. Helens Monument.
From Seattle take I-5 south and exit I-5 to State Route 503 at Woodland, WA. Drive through Cougar, Washington, to Forest Road 90 and then to Forest Road 83, then to Forest Road 83/8312, Continue to Marble Mountain SnoPark.
From Portland, OR, take I-205 north to exit 30b to Battle Ground. Move over to the middle or left lane and proceed north on SR503 for about 10 miles to Battle Ground. Continue north on SR503 past Chelatchie Prairie and Amboy. At the junction of Lewis River Road and SR503, turn right and continue on SR503 past Cougar. Make a left turn on to FR 83 then to Forest Road 83/8312, Follow the SnoPark signs and continue to Marble Mountain SnoPark.
You must have a SnoPark permit for parking. Washington permits cost $20 per day or $40 for the 2016-2017 season (additional administrative fee possible).
There are outhouses available at the trailhead. The warming cabin burned down several years ago and is being rebuilt in 2018.
You can see avalanche forecasts here: Northwest Avalanche Center
National Weather Service Snow Level forecast: South Washington Cascades
GPNF Swift Creek Ski Trail 244, Pika Trail #244D, #216B June Lake, Pine Marten Ski Trail #245 with connections to 244C, 216B, 245E, 236, and the Wapiti and Sasquatch Ski Loops
Length and Elevation:
7 Miles Roundtrip, Elevation at trailhead – 2,700 Ft, Elevation at the highest point – 3,800 Ft, Elevation at June Lake – 3,200 Feet
Review: March 12, 2006, January 1, 2016, December 31, 2016, March 3, 2018
Find trail 244 north of the north parking lot. Choose either trail 244 or 245E. Trail 245E will go to the snowmobile trail. Look for trail 244 about 50 feet to the left. Follow either of these trails uphill to a gravel pit and you will come to the junction of trails 244 and 244B at 46 08.219N, 122 10.282W. Follow the Swift Creek Ski Trail #2446 to the junction of 244 and 244C. From there you can snowshoe to Swift Creek for a great view of Mt. St. Helens up the valley. Go back to the junction and follow the Silver Trail (244C). At 46 09.164N, 122 10.144W is the junction for the June Lake Trail. We went uphill about another .6 mile past Chocolate Falls and spectacular views of Mt. St. Helens and a territorial view to the south and east. We turned around at about the 3,800 foot level.
Coming back, turn left onto June Lake Trail (216B). The trail sign had disappeared under the snow when we went and the blue trail markers were hard to find because they were almost covered too. Watch carefully for the blue trail markers on this part of the trail. The trail follows a ridge, makes a 90 degree turn to the left and crosses a small valley, then turns about 90 degrees to the right to climb a ridge and head towards June Lake at 46 09.084N, 122 09.521W. There are some exposed slopes after the first ¼ mile from trail 244. If the avalanche danger is high you will need to find an alternate route through the gentler treed slopes to June Lake. The trail drops down to June Lake and you can see the waterfall as you drop down the ridge.
June Lake doesn’t freeze over in the winter and the waterfall on the north end of the lake is a wonderful backdrop. From here the trail is a bit challenging crossing the outlet stream and following the edge of a small canyon. Soon the trail enters the forest and is an easy walk downhill to the summer June Lake Trailhead. Turn right and walk west on the snowmobile trail across a creek at 46 08.147N, 122 09.442W. The Pine Marten Trail (245E) goes off the snowmobile trail to the right just after crossing the creek. Look to the right to get back onto the Pine Marten Trail. Walk .4 mile to where the trail comes back to the snowmobile trail. Continue straight to stay on the Pine Marten Trail. Turning right will lead you to the rock quarry. From here the trail parallels the snowmobile trail back to the northeast corner of the parking area.
This snowshoe loop rates in my top 10 trips for a sunny day trip. It has beautiful views of mountains, streams, a lake, and a waterfall.
Enjoy the photos!!