Like its neighbor, the nearby Monte Carlo trail, the 4.1 mile-long Monte Cristo trail ventures into the small Monte Cristo range in the south Cascades outside of Willard. From it, hikers see a myriad of wildflowers in the spring, and the occasional views of the south Cascade range.
Beginning from the upper trailhead, the trail weaves east and then south, traversing hillsides stocked with a multitude of wildflowers, and eventually following lightly forested ridgeline to Monte Cristo Mountain. As you climb, you'll see lovely views of the Little White Salmon drainage, until you reach the summit where there is evidence of an old fire lookout that was built in the 1930s.
The trail then drops down to meet the Monte Carlo Trail. There is an option to continue quite a ways further; more than 7 more miles on the Monte Carlo trail. A variety of exits exist along the way but there are no loop options. Be sure to make time to come back the way you came up.