Mount Adams is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Range and the second-highest mountain in the U.S. state of Washington. Adams is a member of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, and is one of the arc's largest volcanoes, located in a remote wilderness approximately 31 miles (50 km) east of Mount St. Helens. The Mount Adams Wilderness comprises the upper and western part of the volcano's cone. The eastern side of the mountain is part of the Yakama Nation.
Adams' asymmetrical and broad body rises 1.5 miles (2.4 km) above the Cascade crest. Its nearly flat summit was formed as a result of cone-building eruptions from separated vents. Air travelers flying the busy routes above the area sometimes confuse Mount Adams with nearby Mount Rainier, which has a similar flat-topped shape. The Pacific Crest Trail traverses the western flank of the mountain. Although Adams has not erupted in over 1,400 years, it is not considered extinct.
Each year, hundreds of outdoorsmen try to summit Mount Adams. Crampons and ice axes are needed on many routes because of the glaciers and how steep they are. But it is easy to climb up with just boots and ski poles on the south side of the mountain in the summer. The biggest hazard is the loose rocks and boulders which are easily dislodged and a severe hazard for climbers below. Climbing Mount Adams can be dangerous for a variety of reasons and people do die in pursuit of the summit.
Many trails access the Round the Mountain trail. On the south, The Shorthorn Trail leaves from near the Morrison Creek Campground. On the west side, there are three trails going up: Stagman Ridge, Pacific Crest Trail, and the Riley Creek Trail. On the north side are the Divide Camp, Killen Creek, Muddy Meadows trails, and again the Pacific Crest Trail. These trails generally gain between 1,500 feet (460 m) and 3,000 feet (910 m) in between 3 miles (4.8 km) and 6 miles (9.7 km). Trails are mostly snow-covered from early winter until early summer.
Campgrounds near Mount Adams are open during the snow-free months of summer. Campgrounds in the area include the Takhlakh Lake Campground, offering views across the lake of Mount Adams; Olallie Lake; Horseshoe Lake; Killen Creek; Council Lake; and Keenes Horse Camp. Adams Fork Campground and Twin Falls Campground are located along the Lewis and Cispus Rivers. Most lakes within the Midway High Lakes Area offers scenic views of Mount Adams and its glaciers. Adams Fork Campground, Cat Creek Campground, and Twin Falls Campground are located nearer to Mount Adams and are just a few of the many campgrounds along the scenic Lewis and Cispus Rivers.
Wilderness and Wildlife:
The western side of Mount Adams is in the Mount Adams Wilderness within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The east side is part of the Yakama Nation. The wilderness is open to hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing and equestrian sports. A Volcano Pass from the United States Forest Service (USFS) is required for activities above a certain altitude. Some areas of the Yakama Nation are open for recreation, while other areas are open only to members of the tribe.
The Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge lies at the base of Mount Adams. The refuge covers 6,500 acres (26.3 km2) and contains conifer forests, grasslands, and shallow wetlands. Protected wildlife includes deer, elk, beaver, coyote, otter, small rodents, bald eagle, greater sandhill crane, and the Oregon spotted frog. On the slopes of the mountain, elk are common and wolverines have been sighted.