Sea caves at Crescent Beach.

Council Lake west of Mount Adams is mesmerizing.

Two trails diverge on the slopes of Tumala Mountain.

  1. Ecola State Park: Crescent Beach

  2. Cape Falcon

  3. Mount Saint Helens

  4. Lewis River Falls

  5. Indian Racetrack and Red Mountain

  6. Takhlakh Lake and Council Bluff

  7. Lost Lake

  8. Tumala Mountain and Plaza Lake

  9. Olallie Backcountry Loop

  10. Olallie Lake and Ruddy Hill

September is all about huckleberries, high mountain lakes and crystal-clear skies. All of the destinations above are accessible months before September, but all are also known for early-summer mosquitoes and mid-summer crowds. Better to save them all for after Labor Day in September, when both crowds and mosquitoes are gone. The nights are cold but the skies are often clear, and if you time it right, the huckleberries are ripe and ready for picking. There are, of course, many places you can go in September. The hikes described here run the gamut from the aforementioned high mountain lakes to road trips to the Oregon Coast to a hike to the summit of an active volcano. Just as with July and August, you can go anywhere and do anything.

September has some of the year’s most reliable weather. In most years, you can expect sunny days with highs in the 50s and 60s in the mountains. You can likewise expect very cold nights. Plan ahead and bring lots of warm clothing - it’s worth it. While the weather is often reliable, you should always check the forecast ahead of time. September rainstorms are a regular occurrence, particularly later in the month, and the days shorter and nights
colder. Snowstorms in the mountains are rare but possible, especially on Mount Saint Helens. Always plan ahead when planning a visit to the mountains.

Speaking of planning ahead: hunting season in the Pacific Northwest begins in September. Always respect hunters and wear bright clothing (or better yet, BLAZE ORANGE) when you venture out into the woods in September. The danger of hunting accidents is overstated, but it is still a good idea to know when hunting season begins if you’re headed out to the Cascades.

One other thing that is good to know is when area campgrounds close - many close after Labor Day weekend, but others stay open until the third or fourth weekend of the month. If you’re planning on a weekend camping trip, check ahead and make reservations when you can. If you’re headed up to the Olallie Lake area (Hikes 89 and 90), consider staying at the Olallie Lake Resort. The resort offers rustic cabins and yurts that offer a delightful place to stay. There’s no electricity or plumbing - just kerosene lamps and outhouses. You would be hard-pressed to find a better place to stay on a cold, crisp September night.