The clouds don't look gray and angry, and that's our cue for dreaming of glorious warm weather. If you're making a summer bucket list with a generous number of swimming holes in Washington like we are, you've got to add this hike that'll lead you to clear emerald pools and make you feel like you're exploring cenotes in Mexico!
Nestled in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest just south of Mount St. Helens, the picturesque Siouxon Trail starts near Amboy, Washington.
You'll need a $5 per day Northwest Forest Pass to park at the trailhead.
The moderately difficult, 12-mile trail runs along its namesake creek and takes you through forests of Douglas Firs, Western Red Cedars, sword ferns, rustic log bridges, and even the ruins of the Hickman's Cabin built for fire-prevention workers in the 1930s.
It connects the Huffman Peak, Horseshoe Ridge, Chinook Creek, and Wildcat Trails, meaning, you'll get to see the Siouxon Falls, Chinook Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and several miniature cascades where you can stop and swim in on your way.
Dogs are allowed on leashes too, so your pooch can cool off at the many waterways.
Although it's open for hiking year-round, the best time to visit is during spring and summer when the snow from the mountains melt to form the magical pools.
The Siouxon Falls is only about two miles (4-mile roundtrip) into the hike.
There are even benches made of logs where you can relax and set up a picnic. Sound like summertime yet?
Whether it's all the sword ferns nearby or the mossy boulder-bed, the clear stream reflects its emerald colors and makes you want to take a dip in it ASAP. This is the spot to snap pics to your heart's content!
If you feel like extending this adventure, you can continue on the trail to the spectacular 60-foot Chinook Falls that pour over a rock ledge.
Keep in mind that this point is a 7-mile roundtrip from where you parked your car.
Since most of these spots need log-crossing, we recommend wearing sturdy footwear and carrying poles to give your stability a boost.
There are also several backcountry campsites along the way if you find that you need more time for this Pacific Northwest adventure.
Either way, who doesn't want to swim in pools that you'll probably have all to yourself?
Siouxon Creek Trail
Price: $5/day NW Pass
Location: NF-5701, Amboy, WA
Why You Should Go: You can swim in secluded crystal-clear emerald water pools and enjoy several waterfalls on the way.