Directions: Take Highway 26 to the town of Zigzag and take the turnoff to Lolo Pass Road on the left. Drive Lolo Pass for about 4 miles and take a right onto Road 1825 and cross a bridge over the Sandy River. Continue on the road passing a campground and horse camp, the road is paved but narrow and has some potholes. There will be signs directing you to Ramona Falls.
To see our first post on Ramona Falls click here.
The trail starts out along the Sandy River and there are a couple of good viewpoints as you go. Be cautious of where you’re standing along the edge of the trail because the sides have been undercut by the river. You will soon pass by a wilderness checkin station, make sure you fill out the tag (it’s free but required) and attach it to your backpack. As you keep hiking the trail gradually heads uphill as you make your way to the crossing of the Sandy River.
The trail has changed a lot near the crossing since the bridge was washed out in a flash flood in the summer of 2014. The trail heads down to the river where there is a pretty large log jam area, you will be using these downed trees to cross the river. We saw about three good options for crossing. It wasn’t too terrible crossing on the trees, just make sure you are sure footed and take your time. We hear they are NOT planning on putting in a new bridge so that means finding your own way from now on. These trees may not be in the same area or around at all depending on if they get washed away with storms. So please keep that in mind before heading out on this hike, it’s just really hard to tell year to year what the crossing will look like. After you get across follow the footpath up the side of the bank and onto the trail.
From here the trail heads uphill, not terribly steep but it’s consistently gaining elevation. You switch back and forth from heavily wooded to sparse with lots of sun coming in. May is definitely Rhododendron season and they were blooming all along the trail! You will come to two junctions in the trail at the first one stay right (straight) and continue on up the trail to the second junction. At this second junction go straight for signed Ramona Falls. A short distance later you will come to a horse staging area that you pass through and go right down to Ramona Falls.
On the way out head across the bridge at the base of the waterfall and follow the trail downhill along a creek. You will also pass along a large cliffside to your right as you hike down to a junction. Take a left and continue on to a second junction which gets you back on the main trail you came in on (take a right and head downhill at this junction). From here you head downhill to the river crossing and back to your car.
Distance: 7.1 Miles (moderate)
Elevation: 1,100 feet (moderate)
Pet Friendly: Yes
Good For: This is not a good hike for young kids or older folks due to the river crossing.
Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area.
Parking Fee: A $5 NW Forest Pass is required
Seasons: Spring to early fall
Warnings: The river crossing can be dangerous and changes from season to season.