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Did this yesterday, September 19, 2018. Great experience. The scree at the top was easy since it was wet from recent snow melt. No need for poles going up, but would have been useful for the down trip. Up in 4.5 gours, down in 2. Beautiful weather at summit...sun and no wind but clouds to the south, spent and hour up there which I hear us unusual.

The views at the top are unparalleled - absolutely amazing. I was lucky enough to get a nice day, so I literally had 360 mountain views. I also had the whole lookout to myself! Three other people were leaving as I was about to hit the top, so I was super lucky.
As much as this hike kicked my arse (to which I’m still not really sure why - I’ve done longer, higher altitude and more elevation, and this seemed worse to me??), I would do it again for the views. Took me about 1h 10 to get up, and 50 minutes to get down - I’m not overly fit, and I took a lot of breaks.
There were a lot of bees at the top, which is kind of random haha but something to look out for.

Oh - and how has nobody mentioned the fact you drive about 9 miles on gravel roads to get here?! It’s absolutely, totally worth it, don’t get me wrong - but it was a very long half hour, especially knowing I had to go back haha!

This is one of the best hikes in this area - and probably the best day hike. We did this along with Stuart Lake and the mountain views and the water color were breathtaking

I really enjoyed this hike! I went on a day when it was raining a bit so my pup and I essentially had the trail to ourselves. The climb to the top wasn’t too bad and man was it worth it. The views were breathtaking. Even though it was cloudy and raining it was still amazing. I was not able to see Rainier because of the clouds but I plan on going back up on a clear day. The fire lookout is really cool too. You are able to go inside and sign a trail register. Lots of cliffs so please be careful! Rocks at the top can be slick in the rain.

I hiked it last week. Amazing hike! Pretty steep at some points, a great workout for the heart.
My Fitbit recorded 6.75 miles in 3.5 hours round trip. Gorgeous views halfway up and towards the top. It got rainy and windy toward to the summit so bring layers as you’ll never know what awaits you. -:)
Even if you don’t see much because the clouds roll in it feels very rewarding to hike to the top.
I will keep hiking it to keep me in shape.

Happy hiking! Cheers!

hiking
2 days ago

It is a long hike but the views along the trail and from the summit make it worth it. The huckleberry bushes are now (9/18) a deep red and there are a lot of berries on them higher up. Could hear elk bugle frequently near St. Helens Lake and saw two herds of elk on the way back.

Good hike, though we were both pretty tired by the end of it. There is no cover throughout the duration of the hike, so if you're going on a sunny day - wear sunscreen and/or a hat. We went on a cloudy, cool day so there weren't many other hikers on the path. There isn't much that is particularly difficult about the hike other than it's a lot of up and down. The last 3/4 mile to the peak was probably the worst part of it. I wouldn't recommend wearing pants that leave any skin exposed because of some overgrowth on the trail - you don't want to risk getting you ankles cut up. Other than that, it was quite a bit colder as we got up so be sure to layer. On a clear day, you'd get some amazing views of the mountain. I think the coolest part of the hike was seeing so much of Spirit lake. Side note - I accidentally left something at the peak and we tried to go back to get it the next day, but there was too much rain. For that hike we started at South Coldwater lake since we didn't want to do all the up and downs, and I think I liked that way better to get up. You get great views of Coldwater Lake and there's a lot more vegetation.

Beautiful falls from the base and very nice hike, but the signage is terrible, as is the road to get to the parking lot. We took a turn that we thought would loop around to parking, as described, and ended up turning an easy 6 mile hike into a 12 mile excursion filled with frustration. Download the map ahead of time...lesson learned!

so gorgeous!

Super hike/climb.
The boulder field was a lot of fun.
The ash was fustrating.

One of my favorite hikes in the PNW. It's a very popular trail, so get there early. Leave yourself at least 5 hours to complete the trail, but give yourself more time if you want to stay at the lake for a bit. Try to go on a sunny day as the water looks a brighter shade of blue in the sunlight.

This is an amazing hike worth every step. I highly recommend this trail.

Overall, the hike was amazing. I only rate this a 3/5 since it’s a longer distance from Portland than other beautiful coast hikes, and the geotagged trailhead on AllTrails is wrong. AllTrails will likely take you to a fork in the road—but drive 1.5 miles farther on the left fork. I didn’t find the ascent difficult, but I can imagine it can be depending on the weather/experience of the hikers. Bring a nice lunch to enjoy the view at the meadow, it was awesome to emerge from the rainy and cloudy forest to a sunny coastal meadow.

Having on two previous occasions hiked Mount Defiance and Dog Mountain each on the same day, I decided to attempt a triple ... Defiance once and Dog twice.
August 31, 2018
7:20 a.m. start up Mount Defiance (Trail #413 out and back)
10:19 a.m. summit 1
12:57 p.m. down
1:44 p.m. start up Dog Mountain (1st loop, Augspurger Trail to Dog Mt Trail)
3:24 p.m. summit 2
4:31 p.m. down
4:48 p.m. start up Dog Mountain (2nd loop, Augspurger Trail to Dog Mt Trail)
6:43 p.m. summit 3
7:53 p.m. down and done
25.4 miles, 10,440 elevation gain/loss, 11 hours, 6 minutes total hike time
23rd time up Mount Defiance, 95th & 96th time up Dog Mountain

Go early. First one out in the morning. probably saw close to 150 elk. The bugles were like a symphony. Everyone I talked to on the way back saw no elk. Probably one of the best hikes ever, but you have to go early before animals bed down for the day

I loved this mountain. We climbed it yesterday, the weather was terrible, the views were non existent, but memories for a lifetime. It only took us 6 and a half round trip. Left our car at 6:18 am and back to the car at 1:45. I’ll be doing this again next year, hopefully with better weather to catch the views.

hiking
10 days ago

Lots of sea lions barking, you can also see them swimming at the end. The cove is super cool. We opted to track over to the right of the grassy knoll down onto the rocks and sit for a couple hours. Saw lots of sea lions, birds and even a whale throw it's tail up! Traffic was light and we didn't see a whole lot of people. It did kick our asses

Challenging for this beginner but well worth it. Such a breathtaking view!

hiking
11 days ago

Hiked to Lost Lake via Packwood Lake Trail #78 Sunday of Labor Day Weekend for an overnighter. 20 miles RT (counting a 4 mile RT to the Old Lookout above Lost Lake), with 4216ft elevation gain including Old Lookout that took 5hrs to Lost Lake.

As expected, the parking lot was packed and started a second parking row. Arrived and on the trail by 9am. Arrived at the Packwood Lake in 1.5 hrs, had a snack and continued on Packwood Lake Trail #78 UP 4 miles to Lost Lake. This section is step climbing approx. 2500 ft. Mosquito Lake is overgrown by brush and not really suitable to stay, however there is a nice campsite next to it. Afterward there is a nice meadow with the first views of the Goat Rocks. From there the Junction of Coyote Trail #79 is just ½ mile and Lost Lake is another ½ mile after that. I arrived at Lost Lake at 2:15pm.

I made camp, had lunch and left for a 2 mile side trip up to the Old Lookout site above Lost Lake. Left at 3:30 and arrived at 5pm. Beautiful. There is a 360 degree view including Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, The Goat Rocks, Old Snowy and the White Pass ski lifts. Spent 30 minutes up there and headed back. Made it back by 6:30pm.

From the Old Lookout, down to Lost Lake and to the Junction of Coyote Trail #79 is part of the detour of the PCT around the Miriam Fire near White Pass.

Lost Lake had a lot of people, and some sites were open. There are at least 6 sites with lake access, maybe more. 2 were open. The water level at Lost Lake was VERY LOW, about 12-15 ft below years past. There are more camp sites available, however they don’t have lake access, but a seasonal stream is nearby. They are about ½ mile past the lake.

Going down the next day was quick and took 3.5 hrs vs 5 hrs going in. Tough hike after Packwood Lake but easy starting and finishing. Lost Lake is beautiful and a peaceful place to camp with no bugs this trip anyway. Well worth the effort!

Hard hike the whole way up but amazing views the whole time!

trail running
12 days ago

Trail is very well groomed - there are some rocky sections at the beginning and end but nothing significant. Basically the entire trail is runnable if you can handle the steep inclines. Beautiful views. A NW Forest Pass ($30 per year and valid all over the PNW for many, but not all trails) is sufficient to avoid the $5 parking fee. Make sure to get permit in advance during the summer because they run out quickly (weekends only from May-July due to increased interest subsequent to Eagle Creek Fire).

Not too difficult except the last ashy area, super windy!

hiking
15 days ago

Been up there twice in the last month. Did the short trail the first time, the long trail the second time.

Worth every step, and the rough forest service road to the trail head.

Hiked on Sept 1st, Started at 5am, reached summit at noon and reached back down by 7pm. We took a lot of breaks and spent most of our time at the boulder field. Starting early, we crosses the treeline for a beautiful sunrise and got lucky with very clear skies. Get gloves for scrambling over the boulders and rocks. Suggest wearing Gaiters for the gravel trail.

As many have said this is a strenuous hike. At this time it's very dry and skidding in the rocky dusty trail areas is very likely. Poles help a lot . Someone said when you reach a fork take the hard route. that is an unnecessary and slightly treacherous short cut

hiking
15 days ago

Incline don’t miss leg day. Breath taking worth the hike.

I liked the hike, went with my husband and my dog, didn't like the aggressive bugs. Don't know if I would do it again but it was a nice view when we finally made it to the top.

Hiked this on 8Aug with my wife and 12 year old son. He only really complained on the way down but i don't blame him, lol. It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be but our legs are still burning two days later, lol, and we're avid hikers. Nonetheless, what an experience to be standing atop an active volcano. There's plenty of reviews that cover the terrain so I won't get into that. We started from Climbers Bivouac at 0400, got to the summit at 0845 and got back to truck at 1245. We took 2 long breaks and multiple short breaks on the way up and a 45 minute rest at the top. Recommendations: 1) start early. Getting up at 0330 sucked but it was worth it. Coming down at lunchtime was Hot. 2) Take plenty of breaks. 3) Pack lots of water. I went through about 4 liters which seemed to be plenty for me. 4) Pack good snacks. 5) when you get to the ash, step in other people's footsteps, much easier. 6) Have a full change of clothes at thr bottom and more snacks and drinks. 7) watch one of the YouTube documentaries on the history, makes it much more enjoyable to actually relate the two. All of those recommendations are pretty standard for most hikes so nothing out of thr ordinary. Enjoy.

Awesome hike! Arrived at parking lot around 8:30 and it was 95% full. Started out on the trail around 8:45. They need one of those jumping deer signs as we scared up a couple of deer and they jumped! Watch out for the tree roots that seem to be alive. We stopped counting the number of times we tripped. The lake is gorgeous. The hike was tough (we are in our mid 50s), but very doable. We were out about 4 1/2 hours with a 30 minute break at the lake and picture breaks along the way.

Summitted on Labor Day 9/3/2018 and in my humble opinion late Summer to early Fall is the BEST time of the year to do this hike - cool temperatures and one does not have to deal with added complications brought on, and additional gear needed, due to snow & ice. I got extra lucky and was fortunate to experience a clear day with blue spotless skies!

You will need a permit to climb above the tree line ~4800 feet. Up to this point, you are just hiking around in a typical PNW evergreens forest. Permits on the USDA website sell out quickly in the spring, but I have found that there is a high probability of getting lucky on the purmit.com website. You will need to note down your permit number on your parking stub and in the Climber's Register, and there are forest rangers stationed along the route.

I parked at Climber's Bivouac at around 6 a.m. but you are allowed to spend the night in your car or in a tent at this parking lot. There are no restaurants or facilities and this is parking-lot is deep into the forest at the end of a gravel road. I ate a hearty breakfast which I had brought, used the )chemical, no running water) restroom, signed in the Climber's Register, paid $5/- for parking and began climbing at 0715 a.m. I took the Ptarmigan Trail up to the Monument Rim.

I am a woman, 43, in good shape and this was a solo hike. I had decided to play it very safe and keep a slow but steady pace. I was able to be back at the trailhead by 4:00 p.m. with an actual moving time of just over 9 hours. I took about 20 minutes at the rim to enjoy the views, and several mini-breaks for rest, scenery and photos along the way. Determined, slow and steady will get you to the top - this hike is challenging but achievable for most hikers.

GEAR: Must-haves for this time of the year are ankle-high boots, gloves, sun-glasses, gators, a buff/scarf to cover your ears, and a wind-proof jacket. Nice-to-haves are hiking poles and a wide-brimmed hat. I recommend wearing full sleeves and long pants/tights to avoid getting scratched on the rocks.

The first ~1.5 miles is a steady uphill walk in a forest. You will be able to see (L-R) Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson and the tri-peak of the Sisters through clearings.

The middle ~1.5 miles is where you will climb steep uphill among a field of small boulders. Keep an eye out for the route markers as there is no trail, you just have to make your way up to the next marker among the boulders. For the most part, you are holding rocks with your hands and working your legs between/over rocks. If you don't wear gloves you could easily cut yourself on the rock. I did not / could not use my poles as I felt I needed the use of both my hands.

The uppermost section is soft ash mixed with tiny pebbles & scree. Hiking uphill in the ash scree itself is not very challenging assuming you have boots on with good treads. The challenge here is in the steep elevation gain and in taking it one small step at a time and not being overwhelmed by seeming endlessness of the mountain. If ever you feel a bit discouraged, just look downhill to feel good about how much you've achieved, take a deep well-deserved breath to reset and put your next foot forward.

As you approach the rim, be prepared for your mind to be completely blown away by the breathtaking view of Mount Rainier for the first time, the smoldering crater and the glaciers surrounding the dome of the volcano. Spirit Lake with all its floating tree-trunks is at the bottom of the crater, and if you look hard enough you may be able to see the Visitor Center. The "true summit" is a 0.25-mile long walk along the crater's rim, to your left.

Take in the views, and a good rest at the top, because the downhill challenge is about to begin. You will dig your heels deep into the steep ash scree - here is where the gators come in handy. Although it never feels unsafe, be prepared for your shoes to fill up with little pebbles, and to end up with your backside on the scree in a slo-mo cushioned fall. The boulders are also challenging downhill, and I hate to admit it but my knees felt a bit wobbly by the time I got back to the tree-line elevation. The downhill walk seems miraculously much longer than the uphill walk!

This hike will squeeze the juice out of you but will pay you back ten-fold in views and satisfaction. It is worth every last drop of effort and expense you will put into planning this hike.

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