Wind River Road

Note: this road is closed during winter.
Length: 37 miles (65 min to 1.5 hours)
Overall Rating:
09 - Top Tier
08 - Beautiful
09 - Totally Engrossing
09 - Quiet

Washington’s Wind River Road is one of two (and a half) superb drives in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, starting from the Columbia River Gorge at Carson to a junction at the southern foot of Mt St Helens. At this junction you can twist and turn westwards back to civilization on NF 90 / WA 503, or continue northwards on another great drive with NF 25.

Starting in Carson, turn at the well-marked Wind River Road/Highway junction. You’ll follow the river valley northwards for a while, and after the Carson fish hatchery (about half way) the forest increasingly envelopes the road as it twists and climbs to a high plateau. Once you’re on that plateau make sure you don’t sail past the left turn to NF 90 / Curly Creek Rd (it’s pretty easy to do, and you’ll end up in the middle of nowhere). From there you’ll descend to the Swift Reservoir – don’t miss the Mt St Helens viewpoint along the way.

Outside of the panorama at the viewpoint, this drive is all about the lush forests and canopy over the road — especially in the light of a late summer afternoon or evening.

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