For something strenuous, follow the 2.5-mile Norway Pass Trail (No. 1) through blown-down forests to the 4,500-foot pass, gaining 900 feet in elevation along the way. You can continue beyond to the Coldwater Lake area, return the same way you came, or return to Independence Pass along Road 99 via Independence Pass Trail (No. 227), with extraordinary views over Spirit Lake. The round-trip distance for this is six miles. The Norway Pass Trailhead is just a mile north of Meta Lake; a water pump is also here.
Harmony Trail drops 570 feet in just a mile, offering the only legal access to the shore of Spirit Lake. Most living things were killed when pyroclastic flows filled it in 1980, causing water temperatures to reach almost 100°F. The trailhead is halfway between the Independence Pass trailhead and Windy Ridge.
At Windy Ridge you can hike the six-mile Truman Trail (No. 207) for up-close-and-personal views of the lava dome inside the crater, and to connect with the round-the-mountain Loowit Trail (No. 216). A spur of this (216 E) leads to Loowit Falls, where 100°F water pours out of the crater (no swimming).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition