Morton, Washington, USA

Morton is the third largest city in Lewis County.
Click here for a webcam shot of Downtown Morton.
Click here, or on the image for additional views of Morton. Map of deanary and parish.
Where is Lewis County?WA State map by county (from US Census)

In our area we have volcanoes, Cascade Mountains and foothills, national forest, wilderness areas, lakes, rivers, camp grounds, skiing, hang gliding at Dog Mountain. So, you can do any kind of outdoor activity you find interesting: hunting, fishing, swimming, hiking, mountain climbing, riding, photography, birding, camping, or just looking.

Last update: 3/4/2003


Specific recreational activities.
Mt. St. Helens
Mt. Rainier
Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Cowlitz River

Fauna and Flora
Last update (to fishing and camping): 7/20/01.

Your first stop for local out-door information should be the White Pass Shoppers Guide; be sure to read the recreational report. It will give you current information and more on our area's outdoor activity. They have a map of the area and a tourist guide for local business information. The classified's are also a good way to get a window into our rural area. Be sure to look at the local events of interest in the local tourism guide.

For a list of Lewis County parks, links and maps see the Comprehensive Plan Maps. For more regional information on the South Cascades area see Welcome Magazine. The White Pass Shoppers Tourism Guide is more complete for motels, food, etc. for our area. A good source of information on Packwood is Destmation Packwood..

Some General Information on our Area.

US Census Bureau year 2000 data on Lewis County, WaMorton Chamber of Commerce.

Another source of local information is the Chronicle located in Centralia. (Economic and other Lewis County information can be found at The Twin Cities Chamber of Commerce, and Lewis County links.) Lewis County has developed its own web site. If you like you could subscribe to the East County Journal to have up to date area news.

History: The Lewis County genWeb site has links and historical information on the county as well as a description of all the towns in our county; they also have a simple search engine for their Lewis County database. Also for local history see the History of the Catholic People of the Upper Cowlitz River, and a Short history of Lewis County. See the Towns of Lewis County Wa. US Census data on population from 1900 to 2000 in Lewis County, WA.


For local weather information, look at the temperature in Morton (local thermometer). NOAA in Seattle has extensive weather information for the area. Click on Lewis County. Morton is at an elevation of 950 feet, so see if the freezing level is given. Be sure to look at the Washington State Dept. of Transportation travel alerts. The Storm Display is interesting especially during the hurricane season; you can ask for a Washington storm map. Check the University of Washington Weather Center. Also, KOMO's weather map and links like the Chappell Family weather station in Centralia.. Local conditions are continuously reported from the local thermometer and webcam of Morton. If you plan to come across White Pass to visit us, be sure to look up the Washington State Pass Reports on the weather conditions and the White pass WSDOT camera. Finally, there is a site for Southwest Washington Polution Control.

Click here for some thoughts on life in the rain.

Mt. St. Helens National Monument.
Small view of Mt. St. Helens
Traveling in the Monument: Ryan Lake Road, and the 99 road to Windy Ridge.
You should look at the USGS material which is extensive on the volcano. Look at the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument official site, especially the east side attractions, which have photos of each spot described.
See Mt. St. Helens in Gorp, and a Mt. St. Helens travel guide from online highways. The Forest Service has a mountain climbing guide. Windy Ridge is accessible through Randle. You can look at an interactive map of the Monument. You can view some satellite images of Mt. St. Helens. (Some excellent photos can also be found at PhotoArt by Loren Lane.)
Now there is a live cam of Mt. St. Helens.
For more on St. Helens, see the parish Cascade Volcanoes page. There are photos by the pastor, volcano and volcanology links.

Mt. Rainier
In the winter most activity will be snow related, and the park is open. You can drive to the Paradise Visitor Center but remember to bring the equipment needed for driving the mountain passes. The Mountain has some of the heaviest snowfall in the world. Also, check the recreational report for Mt. Rainier: "Snow has been falling but soon melting as low as 1,000 feet elevation-- the entire Park is above 2,000 feet elevation. Last weekend the snowline at which snow was staying in the forest was about 3,000 ft. elevation, at elevation 4,500 feet there were several inches of snow and at Chinook Pass and Paradise elevation of 5,500 ft. there were 12 to 24 inches of snow." 12/6//04 report.
Spring photos from the National Park, May 1997.
The Park has an Official Home page. Mt. Rainier in Gorp is an other good source of information, but before you go check the Mt. Rainier Weather and road conditions. Washington online highways travel guide to Washington has material on Mt. Rainier Nat'l. Park. For local business information check the Mt. Rainier Business Association site. The Recreation report has up to date information on current conditions, such as snow, skiing, hiking, camping, etc. For park accomodations see Go Northwest.
Click here to see how the forest looked in 1908, and still looks today. A historic photo of the entrance, gatway, to Mt. Rainier is at the Park's new official web page.
Click here for vintage post card views of the Park.
Some excellent photos can be found at PhotoArt by Loren Lane. Among the Mt. Rainier photos October Sunrise is specially striking.
For more on Rainier, see the parish Cascade Volcanoes page. There are photos by the pastor, volcano and volcanology links.

US Forest Service Home Page.
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest extends south of the parish, from Highway 12 nearly all the way to the Columbia River. Randle is an excellent place to enter the forest. (Randle is on Highway 12 about 20 miles east of Morton.) A large amount of the forest is now unavailable for logging. In addition to hurting the local economy, the forest's lack of revenue has forced the closure of some roads.

There is an page by the Forest Service for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Be sure to check with them about what roads are open, special conditions, weather conditions, a map, and the list of recreational possibilities in the Gifford Pinchot.

The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest runs from around Mt. Rainier then north to the Canadian border. Click here for a map.

Nature of the Northwest. is a virtual visitor center operated as a partnership between the State of Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and the USDA Forest Service.

For a view of Mt. Rainier from within the National Forest click here; for another click here.

The Cowlitz River as you cross the bridge just before St. Yves Church on Highway 122. This is the start of Mayfield Lake.
Cowlitz River near St. Yves
One of the prominent and interesting features of Mt. Rainier are its Glaciers. (You can see an image of a climb to a crevasse on Stevens Glacier, dated 27-7-86.) The Cowlitz River flows from the Cowlitz-Ingraham Glacier, which you can see on the glaciation map, and then down the entire valley that comprises the parish. Information on the Glaciers of Mt. Rainier can be found at the USGS. They also have a description of the Cowlitz River Basin. For information on the River flow below the Mayfield Dam (St. Yves is on the lake's shore) check the Castle Rock Monitoring Station for the Cowlitz. Click here for a photo of the Cowlitz at Randle, WA.

Cowlitz River Stream Flow
       Cowlitz River at Castle Rock, WA
       Cowlitz River at Packwood, WA
       Cowlitz River at Randle, WA
       Cowlitz River below Mayfield Dam, WA
       Cowlitz River near Kosmos, WA

In case of possible flooding be sure to check with the USGS Water Resources for Washington State and the Cowlitz River; they also provide news releases. Finally, the Tilton River flows through Morton, then along Highway 508. The Tilton's stream flow conditions are measured near Cinebar, in St. Yves.


Flora and Fauna of the Pacific Northwest.

If you enjoy wildlife, there is plenty of opportunity to see and experience them here.

Look at the site linked above for plans, animals, birds and wildflowers.
Look at the Washington State Fish and Wildlife site, and their page on Wildlife Viewing. Especially useful should be their page on Southwest Washington Wildlife.
Oregon State University has an Extension service that may be useful. See also the Washington State Cooperative Exension Service, and the WSU Master Guardener. They have a section on native plants.
Washington State Parks list some winter wildlife people might see. Another possible source of wildlife information is the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  USGS: Life Returns to Mount St. Helens.  Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge is near Mt. Adams. See map and links, Wildernet, and USGS bird checklist.

The Washington Trails Association has information on our Flora and Fauna.
The Northwest Trek home page has detailed information, including material on its animals. It has only northwest natives. It is nearby, just north of Eatonville, in Pierce County.

Individual Recreational Activities
Auto trips: Mt. St. Helens, Ryan Lake, and Windy Ridge. Mt. Rainier (the road to Paradise), Mt. Adams (photos from various locations accessible by car), The Road from Naches to Packwood, the DeGoede Bulb Farm, Highway 12 near Mossyrock. Take time to visit our local communities such as Morton. If you come down Highway 7, and turn south towards Morton, the town of Mineral will be to your left. Click here for a photo of Mr. Rainier with Mineral Lake in the forground and two photos of Mt. Rainier from within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Remember that the Gifford Pinchot is not just for hikers. The forest service roads are available for the rest of us. Click here for a Gifford Pinchot vicinity map, or look at the Gifford Pinchot site for more detailed maps. Be sure to check The Gifford Pinchot road report.
"Within a 7-mile radius are five high-elevation lakes with developed campgrounds. Each
provides fishing and limited boating, with access to nearby berry picking and recreation
trails to the Mt. Adams Wilderness. You will see spectacular views of Mt. Adams from
some of the lakes. You can reach this area by car during the snow-free period, usually
from mid-June until mid-October." re Midway High Lakes in Gifford Pinchot.
Another point of interest with spectacular views of all the southwest Washington volcanoes is Burley Mt. There is a fire lookout at the top, but it is usually gated. Good views are still possible. Click here for a photo of Mt. Adams from Burley Mt. and a small image of Mt. St. Helens from Burley. Rainier is visible and Hood on a clear day.  See a great jeep trip to the mountain.
Driving to Mt. St. Helens in the summer is a nice trip. Check the National Volcanic Monument site for information, including driving times, and vicinity map.
(Be advised that some forest service roads are damaged each winter and may be closed for repairs.)

Skiing: Check out Ski White Pass , and the trail map. Besure to look at the currrent conditions, the  WSDOT live cam shot, and the ski cam.)

"White Pass is located 12 miles SE of spectacular Mt. Rainier National Park. The Cascades are snowboarding's Mecca and White Pass boasts some of the country's finest riders and best terrain. White is blessed with abundant snowfall and unspoiled beauty. At White Pass you'll find a wide variety of terrain for all abilities... White Pass has 32 runs 20% of which serve beginners 60% intermediates, and 20% experts. White Pass also has a 18 km cross country trail system, which is double tracked with a 10' skating lane."

You can look at Ski Washington. For conditions, and a good description of the types of skiing at White Pass see The Snow Guide resort information; you can also try The Wasington State Mountain Pass Road Report, and the White Pass Camera on US 12, by the Washington State Transportation Dept. Check the information, at Mt. Tahoma Trails Assoc.. In the winter be sure to check the Northwest weather and Avalanche Center report.

Snowmobilers also have a Wash. Parks snowmobiling page.

Flying: Morton is served by Strom Field and the airports at Packwood and Randle by the

Mountaineering and Climbing: For Mt. Adams information look at the Gifford Pinchot site on Adams. See the The US forest service has a climbing guide for Mt. St. Helens. Be sure to look at the Parish Volcano Page. Also see what is available through the Mountaineers and America's Roof.

Click here for a vintage photo of a Rainier Climb.

Click here for some views of Mt. Adams.

Wilderness areas: Mt. Adams, Indian Heaven, Goat Rocks, Tatoosh, The William O. Douglas, from Nature of the Northwest Wilderness Directory. See also - Washington Wilderness Areas.

The image below is a historic photo of a climb on Mt. Hood. Click on the photo to see the full image.

The Tilton River at Backstrom Park and along highway 508 is used for fishing.

Fishing:Mossyrock-Silver Creek, Ethel, Morton-Mineral-Randle, and Packwood reports from White Pass Shoppers. In the past it has been reproted that one of the best places for Steelhead is the Cowlitz River, for trout in streams one of the best is Skate Creek just north of Packwood, and for lowland trout lakes among the best places are Mineral and Riffe Lakes. See Southwest Washington Lakes. Check the information on Southwest Washington fishing from the state fish and wildlife site. Tacoma Public Utilities recreation site has material on fish and wildlife, Taidnapam Park, Mayfield Lake and Mossyrock Park on Riffe Lake. See the report on Steelhead Salmon Fishing on the Cowlitz River. You can also see the fish plants by the state in our region, fishing in region 5, and the types of fish in the lakes, information on Washington's salmon. Wasington State has sportfish regulations.

Even rainy day fishing is ok. (It better be or you will stay home a lot.)

Camping: There is an extensive list of campgrounds in the Gifford Pinchot national forest. You might look into The Ike Kinswa State Park (LLBean listing) just past St. Yves on State Route 122, and its listing with the Washington State Parks. The Harmony Lakeside RV Park. is nearby on the same road. Look at Mossyrock Park maintained by Tacoma City Light on Riffe Lake, and Taidnapam Park. Check out the the Park Service's page on auto camping at Mt. Rainier. Wilderness camping is also available at Rainier. GORP has an abundance of recreational information on Mt. Rainier including campgrounds.

Hiking: There is excellent information from the Gifford Pinchot site on trails. Look at the overall vicinity map. The Cool Trails site has a list of hikes. You can also check the Washington Trails Association. Look at the hiking at Day Trips at Mt. Rainier, and Wildreness Camping and Hiking. See Gorp on Hiking in Mt. Rainier. Northwest Hiking has trail info on the Gifford Pinchot. The Washington trails Assoc. has a photo gallery.

Horseback: Lewis County Chapter of Back Country Horsemen.

Biking: There are ample opportunities throughout the area for just touring or riding in the National Forest. Go to the Trails page and pick a trails index and look for the bike symbol. Also check out the most popular forest trails. In general you can check out the Capitol Biking Club, and the Vancouver Bicycle Club.

Motorcycle: This is another way to enjoy the National Forest. The Forest Service has a very good page on Motorized Bike Trails. The Blue Lake trails south of Randle in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest have been recommended. Be sure to look at the Gifford Pinchot trails site and look for the motorcycle symbol. " All forest roads are open to motorbikes and several specific trails have been designated for motorized vehicles. Contact a Forest Service office for complete listings." Check the Northwest Motorcycle Association. The nearest club seems to be Yakima Valley Dust Dodgers who ride in the Gifford Pinchot as well as Naches. "A number of NMA riders have raved about the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It is a great place to ride with some spectacular views and a variety of terrain from easy to difficult. The high trails have snow on them until about the end of July. There are lots of places to camp and some connect to the trails." NMA, Other Riding Areas.

Birding: See the Bird Guide, and there are Nature Mapping Bird maps available. See the Seattle Auduban. The Washington Orthonlogical Society has a home page with bird links. There is a photo gallery of Bird Images with a good list of Birding sites in Cascadia. Look at Audubon Washington site.Fishing

Sometimes fishing can be very gratifying. Click on the photo to see the full image. ->

White Water: See, Washinton State Whitewater Rafting. The Tieton is just over the crest of White Pass. The Cispus river may be of interest.

Hang Gliding: "[N]ot far from Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, is Dog Mt. Dog is perhaps the most soarable site in Washington." Hang Gliding NW.

Skydiving: Skydive Toledo.

Wind surfing: "[T]he Lewis County Windsurfing Association which has officially been in existence since 1993.Unofficially we have been in existence and sailing Riffe Lake since the early 1980's. We are a small group of about 50 sailors that includes mostly locals from Lewis Co. and a number of members from British Columbia, Canada to Portland, Oregon. Most of our sailing is at the base of Dog Mountain/Kosmos Flats due to the same moderate to strong and consistent winds that favor hang gliding. In fact, a number of our members sail and hangglide. It is a safe, family site with conditions excellent for beginners through advanced levels. Signs on Highway 12 at Glenoma will lead people to the east end site." For more info try: Dog Mountain is located at the end of Rife Lake. It is accessible by road from Highway 12 at Glenoma, WA.

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area is nearby and there is a list of places to visit. Check out the Gorge Net's list of activities. RSN Resort Cam - The Gorge. (Other Cams here.) The Columbia is a very popular windsurfing area. 

You can also look at historic photos of the Columbia River.

Railroading: The Mt. Rainier Railroad has an official web site; and see the Chehalis Centralia Railroad official site. and the Yakima Valley Rail and Steam Museum and the Yakima Electric Railway Museum.


Boating and Swimming.

This photo was taken at Mayfield Lake Park, just off Highway 12, spring '97. You can view information on the Lake Mayfield Resort. Rife Lake has a couple of places, one you can reach through Mossyrock and the other through Glenoma, and Mineral, with its resort, (see photo: Mineral Lake), which is located off highway 7 after you leave Elbe and turn south to Morton. Watch for the signs. There are three roads that take you to Mineral. See Lakes in Lewis County, and Lewis County Boat Launches.

"Mayfield Lake [fishing]- "Mayfield has two easy launches and often offers good rainbow and brown trout fishing... especially in the Tilton arm, near the hatchery and up the river below Mossyrock dam. Yellow perch are also caught in fair numbers, plus a few largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and brown bullhead catfish. Year-around open season." From the recreational report for 8/4/99.


Rife Lake



Riffe Lake as seen from the view point on Highway 12 between Morton and Mossyrock.

" [Fishing is o]pen all year, Riffe contains brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and brown bullheads. The main attraction is landlocked coho salmon from 10 to 16 inches long. The lake received 16,800 brown trout 2" fingerlings last winter, and several hundred large salmon and steelhead this spring." From the recreational report for 8/4/99.


The Morton Loggers Jubilee is a good reason to visit. It is held each year during the second weekend of August. Check the year 2009 schedule. There are parades (they form up right in front of Sacred Heart church) and logging contests, rides, a flea market, etc. For more on the timber industry look at the Washington Forest Protection Association site, and historic logging images on our site.

 You can also look at information about the Cispus Learning Center south of Randle.

All information is provided "as is", without warranty expressed or implied. Information can change without notice and may not be reflected here. If you choose to visit our area, you do so at your own risk.

Index of all web pages provided by The East Lewis County Catholic Community.

Except the historic photographs, all others are by Roger J. Smith, ©1997, all rights reserved. Comments can be sent to him at: Mail the Pastor!