About the Fire and Ice Scenic Loop
In 2009, a regional group known as the “Ring of Fire” committee suggested the idea of establishing a scenic loop around Mount St. Helens that tells the story of the region’s dramatic geological history and at the same time serves as a new destination for visitors to Southwest Washington. The group recommended establishing a loop route that could help serve as a catalyst for developing more things to see and do in the region and increase the length of visitors' stays – keeping visitors in the region rather than returning back to Portland or Seattle for their overnight stays.
The resulting Fire and Ice Scenic Loop (map) was established by identifying approximately 250 miles of routes that include:
- Three existing scenic byways: Portions of the 572-mile Lewis and Clark State Scenic Byway that travels through Clark and Skamania Counties along the Columbia River (SR 14); the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway (SR 504), a Washington State Scenic Byway and US Forest Service Scenic Byway; and the Lewis County portions of the 119-mile White Pass National Scenic Byway between Mary's Corner and Naches on US Route 12 over White Pass;
- The additional non-designated state highways that lead into the Mount St. Helens National Monument from Interstate 5: State Routes 502 and 503 in Clark County, 503 in Cowlitz County and 505 in Lewis County; and
- The two primary National Forest Road corridors leading into the National Monument: the Wind River Road and Curly Creek Road from SR 14 in Skamania County meeting up with Forest Road 90 leading to the Pine Creek Information Station; and, Forest Road 25 from Randle in the eastern end of Lewis County providing access to the east side of the Monument and the Windy Ridge Observatory via Forest Road 99.
The Fire and Ice Scenic Loop is also envisioned as a catalyst to increase the capacity of the communities in and around Mount St. Helens and Southwest Washington to attract more visitors through nature- and recreation-based tourism. The Loop can help to preserve and interpret significant natural resources, increase access to nearby nature for families, seniors and the physically challenged, and help uncover the early Native American history and culture found within the region.
The FISL, by linking together the wide range of activities such as hiking, exploring waterfalls and lava tubes, watching wildlife, bicycling, rock climbing, camping, and more – can extend what has been a day trip spent in the car into a weekend or week-long memorable outdoor experience.
The Fire and Ice Scenic Loop Corridor Management Plan is funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration and Cowlitz, Lewis, and Skamania Counties in coordination with Clark County, Washington State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service Mount St. Helens National Monument.