The Cowlitz Valley District is the “north” area of the Gifford Pinchot Forest most easily reached from Hwy 12 going from I-5 to Naches and Yakima. It is centrally located about an hour in from both of those areas on the west and east. It is also mostly thought of as the gateway to the Mt. Rainier National Park especially La Wis Wis which is next to the turn off for Road 123 going through the Park. On the west side of this district is located Iron Creek which is the located at the gateway to the lookouts over Mt. St. Helens. There are other campgrounds nearby as well to enhance Iron Creek if it is full. The third area in this district is on the side of Mt. Adams and is referred to as the high lakes area. Often this area is closed to campers due to snow until mid June to early July and then again in early October. It is a favorite area for hunters in the fall and those who want to hike or horseback ride in the nearby wilderness areas. The terrain is mountainous in this district, but the roads are good. Take a map things can be somewhat confusing, but civilization always seems to be close at hand. Both Packwood and Randle have restaurants and stores along with other needs.