Looking for a great trail in Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington? AllTrails has 33 great hiking trails, running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Gearing up for a challenge? There are 16 hard trails in Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument ranging from 8.2 to 26.9 miles and from 2,513 to 8,284 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

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At 8:32 Sunday Morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens Erupted Shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. In a few moments this slab of rock and ice slammed into Spirit Lake, crossed a ridge 1,300 feet high, and roared 14 miles down the Toutle River. The avalanche rapidly released pressurized gases within the volcano. A tremendous lateral explosion ripped through the avalanche and developed into a turbulent, stone-filled wind that swept over ridges and toppled trees. Nearly 150 square miles of forest was blown over or left dead and standing. At the same time a mushroom-shaped column of ash rose thousands of feet skyward and drifted downwind, turning day into night as dark, gray ash fell over eastern Washington and beyond. Wet, cement-like slurries of rock and mud scoured all sides of the volcano. Searing flows of pumice poured from the crater. The eruption lasted 9 hours, but Mount St. Helens and the surrounding landscape were dramatically changed within moments. A vast, gray landscape lay where once the forested slopes of Mount St. Helens grew. In 1982 the President and Congress created the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation, and education. Inside the Monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to the disturbance.

on Ape Cave Trail

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
7 days ago

Hiked mid winter. Did upper caves. About an hour for the cave, then about an hour or less above-ground trek back. Make sure you get s pass and take care on the snowy roads. About half the cave portion is a scramble over, under and through what looks like the remains of old rock cave-ins. Few (1-3) areas where you have to climb up about 6-8 feet and a few (1-3) areas where you’re almost crawling through relatively tight passageways. Some graffiti. Far end of upper tunnel requires a climb up a cold, wet ladder for about 20(?) feet at about a 45 degree slope. Pitch black so I recommend a strong light, not just any head lamp. Hands free a plus. Wet and constantly dripping. Expect puddles and mud. Ground is wet but uneven and rough so grip/slipping wasn’t really an issue. Didn’t see any bats. Outside it was snowing. Trek back through the woods is easy, no significant elevation changes. Children and fat people may have difficulty on some climbs. Not for those scared of tight places, darkness, bats, getting dirty.

icy
snow
7 days ago

I went with my dog on Saturday, a cold but sunny day and it was gorgeous! I got there about 0930 and I was the only person in the parking lot! Getting to the parking lot, I did fine but with the snow and icy patches, there were several sections where someone had slid off the road and into the ditch. I drove slow and carefully and didn't suffer the same consequences. Before I took off on the trail, I put my spikes on. I wasn't sure if I needed them, but I didn't want to hassle with putting them on while on the trail. I'm glad I did! The snowy trail started soon into the hike. My spikes and my hiking poles were just what I needed to feel secure to traverse this well beaten path. Lots of pretty views, switch backs, and animal prints in the snow (bear, and mountain goats). It was a wonderful hike!!

Neat trail. Bring a jacket and a head lamp!

Hiked on 11/24/2019. Arrived at 7am to a full parking lot! You dont need the summit permit after Nov 1st but still should do the sign-in permit at the kiosk. The first 1.5 miles were a nice casual hike. The bathroom before the talus fields is locked. Once in the talus fields the ground gets a little loose followed by boulder fields. After that it's all uphill from there haha. The summit was quite windy with the pretty good gusts so bring some warm gear! Also the route to the true summit was super sketchy and would advise caution if attempting. Reached the summit in 3 hours and 25 minutes with leisure snack breaks (in pretty good athletic shape not to toot my own horn) so prepare for a steady hike up. It almost took longer to get down in certain regards because of the terrain. Be sure to bring lots of snacks, warm layers, micro-spikes, trekking poles, and maybe even a nice summit beer ;). Cheers and Happy Trails. PS please quit feeding the birds, they would surround us expecting hand-outs

hiking
muddy
no shade
rocky
scramble
snow
15 days ago

Great hike with great views it starts out easy but once you get above the tree line it’s all up hill. You scramble over and around rocks all the way until you get about 2 miles away from the summit then it’s just straight up. This hike is definitely worth it just make sure you’re prepared the weather can change in an instant.

off trail
scramble
washed out
16 days ago

I'll start with one word of caution: DON'T. 1) Don't do this loop until the trail has been maintained. One of the ropes to get up one of the ravines (southwest side, near Sheep Canyon trail) is missing - it looks like the bank eroded away where the rope was once attached. We didn't discover this until after we had done ~23 miles counter-clockwise. We had to find a place to *climb* a loose sandy embankment. Not fun. 2) Don't try to do this in one shot, even if you've done other 30 mile days with plenty of elevation. A good 20+% of this trail is jagged boulder fields, tedious ravine crossings, and crumbling slopes. Do not expect to move at anything near your normal pace. 3) Don't take the course map or other people's routes at face value. On a geological timescale, the 1980 eruption happened only moments ago. The landscape is still undergoing a lot of change, settling, eroding, regrowing. Respect the unpredictability of the area. Your mileage *will* vary and availability of water is not a given. That said, it's a beautiful hike and we found a rare late season opportunity to complete it with a remarkably clear and mild November day after a dry October. We saw probably 30 massive goats and a small herd of elk. There were a lot of cougar tracks in some sections but we didn't spot any. If I ever went again, I'd do part of this loop (CCW) at a casual pace with a small group and set up camp somewhere on the north side relatively early to leave time to take in the views. Then one or two nights with day hikes up and down elevation, and then exit out the way I came.

11/20 Sunrise Summit. Absolutely perfect! First five miles were in the pitch-black, save the slip of the moon and the beautiful stars. The Boulder Field boulders were adorned with pretty dripping icicles. But they were no problem at all. The snow was crunchy and no spikes were needed. Very very windy at the summit, but spectacularly beautiful! Good thing I remembered my sunglasses, even though starting out in the dark, LOL. Summiting is habit-forming!

Sunrise hike. Absolutely perfect!

backpacking
20 days ago

Awesome landscape and views! Saw loads of mountain goats, rain stayed away until 8pm, St Helens was in full view around sunrise and rain came back on our way out, highly recommend this trail!

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
21 days ago

The first half is wooded and relatively flat. Once you get above the tree line it gets tough. It isn’t the steepness, but the loose soil. It is almost like scrambling on loose deep sand. It was rainy today which made it tough. An Elk walked about 15 yards i. Front if me and practically gave me a cardiac arrest.

hiking
rocky
scramble
22 days ago

Awesome hike. Beautiful view. Will do again. It’s hard. I’d consider myself an intermediate hiker and this was the hardest hikes I’ve ever gone on. The terrain changes a lot. Woodsy entry for a couple miles till you hit the timberline. Then turns into a bolder field followed by smaller boulders and steeper. Finally snow covered and very icy! Elevation gets more extreme the further up you go. Definitely recommend pacing yourself early on! Bring 3+ liters of water. I drank all three by the end. Gear will be your best friend. Crampons, good hiking boots, soft shell pants, short sleeve, long sleeve, puffy jacket, beanie, and good gloves (those boulders are sharp). I didn’t bring poles, but I would next time.

hiking
rocky
23 days ago

Really cool cave. We did the hike backwards and we're glad we did because we had a little bit more solitude in the tunnel (4 stars because there were so many people and a lot with kids that were having trouble completing the hike). Dress warm and bring extras lights, we all had headlamps and an extra lantern. I would not recommend this hike if you're scared of the dark or claustrophobic. Also, if you have weak ankles make sure your boots are VERY supportive.

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