views

hiking

wild flowers

no dogs

walking

forest

wildlife

birding

nature trips

lake

kid friendly

backpacking

camping

trail running

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.

Completed this hike last Friday (October 12th) and weather was perfect, sunny with a little chill in the air. The last mile was the hardest by far but well worth the effort!

Completely loved this hike. Perfect weather yesterday, sunshine and no wind. I won’t lie, this was a hard hike for me. Loved the bouldering but the ridge line of ash kicked my ash. Fantastic visibility granted us a glorious view of the crater, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt.Hood and what we think was Mt.Washington. It was incredible. The hike down was hard on tired legs but we found the rocky trail below Monitor Ridge was easier than the boulders. Wonderful. Best hike of my life!

more steps than trail,but what views definitely do again

hiking
2 days ago

Perfect hiking conditions—70 degrees, no wind and almost no one on the mountain on a Monday morning. Leaves are changing colors and amazing views the whole way. Easy drive from PDX, took about an hour after crossing in to Washington. I’d rate the trail moderate only for length—it was never steep or difficult terrain. My only negative on this trail is it is a dry trail, so be sure to bring enough water for you and the dogs. You’re in the woods for all but the last mile, so you don’t have to worry too much about being overexposed to the sun.

I loved everything about this hike. Great views at the start and at the finish of the hike. We went to the Loowit trail and headed right for a quarter mile or so. Beautiful views of Hood.

Awesome experience! I’ve never done a subterranean hike and this was absolutely amazing. It wasn’t too crowded today. I went al the way back on the lower trail until I belly crawled to a point where my brain said enough! I did a small portion of the upper trail as I soon realized my knee injury didn’t approve. I will return and finish that tho. Again. Amazing! But please please please bring a headlamp or flashlight. Saw a few iPhone users and it just didn’t cut it.

I FOUND YOUR CAMERA!!!!
Hiked to summit today and found it on the way down. Please contact me with a description to claim it so I can get it back to you. 425-785-1140

so so pretty

I loved these views!! Went yesterday and arrived at 3pm and made it to the campsites by 430 or so. It’s an easy hike that goes through tons of beautiful fall foliage, and at this time all the leaves are smelling and crisp and like autumn rain! The sun was out and I got amazing views of Spirit Lake, St. helens, Rainier, Adams, and Mt Hood. It was crazy!!! Wish I could’ve made it to the top. Planned to camp there and completely forgot drinking water and discovered it was a dry trail. Had to turn around once I ran out. So pack a ton of water, and wear sunscreen! I’m definitely coming back to this hike. I loved that we didn’t go through many trees, because that meant open sky and views pretty much the whole way. I used directions from the WTA website and they helped so much. There’s a lot of junctions and sometimes it can be confusing. Print something out beforehand and make sure you know where you’re headed.
Forest roads along the way were paved for the most part with some random yet kinda common cracks and potholes. like really bad ones. They’re not gravel roads, but it looks like the road split in half, maybe due to the eruption of St. helens? Some of the paved roads are cracked and caved in so just drive slow. All vehicles should be good.

We were fogged in for our first half of the hike- when we got to the peak- the fog would roll in and out changing every few minutes. On the way back, we did get to see what we were hiking. You can see the parking lot from the peak (if the weather permits). We saw a coyote down near St Helens Lake and a few deer immediately beginning the trail from the visitors center. This hike is long and the end elevation should not be ignored. Gorgeous on all accounts. Saw lots of bear, deer, elk and some mountain goat scat as well but saw no mountain goats!

Completed this hike on Tuesday, October 2. We had clear beautiful weather in the treeline, then the wind picked up. We were in and out of clouds for the rest of the ascent. The winds were around 55kph when we started and increased to 65+kph (around 40mph) as we were reaching the top. We had ice forming on us as we continued to gain elevation (my calculations said that it as about 19 degrees with the wind chill). Even with multiple layers, it was getting really cold. Made it to the top with the wind against us in about 5 hours. It was 34 degrees at the top, still heavy winds, so we didn’t stay long. Three hours down...the boulder field was a challenge with the wind on our backs. Knocked me down a few times. But we made it! Incredible experience, empowering, and worth the frozen hands, and wind burnt face. =)

10/2/18

I made it! I started at 6:30am and it took me 7 hours up and 4 hours down. What can I say I'm slow, but I made it and that's all that mattered to me. I saw 7 people turn around because the weather got bad. The weather was about 50 degrees at the beginning, but got very cold as the day went on. The strong wind gusts knocked me over a few times and I had icicles on my hat and gloves. Take your time, stop a lot if you need to, enjoy the views, and start early especially if you're a slow hiker. And remember your head lamp!

Kids had a blast. My kids are younger so we stuck with the lower caves. But, I would love to come back at some point for the upper section. Definitely worth while for everyone to explore. Bring good lights and back ups.

Sunday, 9/30/18, was not the best day to go up the mountain! The weather came in and it was foggy, lost trail markers on the way down, app worked great didn’t need to break out gps. Then the weather changed towards the top and blowing wind and freezing rain. Even with full ski gear I was still cold. The trail was everything as advertised though! Three adventures in one, forest, bouldering, and the challenging ash section. Don’t wait to break out your trekking poles!

Hike starts off nice and easy as it goes for strenuous hikes go for the first 3 miles and then you hit the boulders and loose rocks then the grind begins . Don't forget to look around and take many breaks . We left camp at 6:30am and reached the summit around 11:30 follow the poles but don't be worried about how close you stay to them because there are many trails close by and they all lead to the top . Breathe taking views we were lucky enough to go up on a clear but windy day . Took about a dozen pics and headed back down . The trip down was a lot faster than the way up . Back to camp around 2:30 . Tough but worth it

You can just go rogue in the caves with a headlamp it was absolutely sick

hiking
24 days ago

great hike

This was an awesome trail. I underestimated this trail but it was well worth it. We went up a few weeks ago it was cold and foggy the way up but the top was gorgeous. I took up a 40 lbs pack to prepare for some hiking my wife and I are going to do in Peru in a month. This was a great test. I’m on the thicker side and was definitely feeling the weight going up. The boulders are harder going back down than coming up. The ash is not fun going up but much easier in the downslope. Went with a group of 6 and I was the slowest. The entire trip up and down with lunch and observation time at the top was like eight and a half hours. This trail can be done by almost anyone as we met younger kids (12ish in age) to older like mid-late 60’s going up. Just have to be ready to suck wind for a while. We were stopped by rangers and asked for our permits, so make sure you have them. Make sure you take poles. It would have been much harder coming down the rocks without those. Anyways an amazing trail.

Had bad luck with the weather on our hike yesterday. Thick fog, driving rain, and relentless wind. Our party of 12 split into a slow group and a fast group once we arrived at the Last Chance bathroom. This was a good point to add layers, have a snack and a rest. Once you pass the tree line, the boulders were a fun challenge. A little difficult to see the trail, but easy enough to see the trail guide pole even in the fog. Unfortunately, the wind and rain made the journey too cold to continue to the summit and we turned back just before the ash field. I’d say the decent in the boulder field was by far the most challenging. Wear gloves - using my hands was far more effective than my poles. I read on a previous post that the trail hike back feels longer than it does on the ascent and it absolutely does. Can’t wait to try this hike again, hopefully in better weather next summer!

For gear, I was grateful for my poles, warm wool hat, neck cover and gloves, though by the time we returned to the car, I don’t think a single article of clothing on me was dry...

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.

This is not a trail it's a road

hiking
1 month 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.

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

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.

We luckily did this as a one-way, from Johnston Ridge to the South Coldwater terminus. I was impressed by the colors, the wild flowers, et al. We did see some elk, although so far away as to be mere dots, and got some very nice views of Mount St. Helens. But after the crest, and working back downhill, it was basically kinda boring and tedious.

But, the bigger issue was that the uphill was strenuous to much of the party, and the long, unrelenting downhill stressed others. We had some seasoned hikers in the mix, and some moderate hikers, but when it was all said and done, we ended up finishing 2 hours later than the organizers planned, and this was when we only did this the "easy" direction!

Frankly the trail's kind of a grind, and It's one I never intend to do again.

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

hiking
1 month ago

Wonderful hike. Some bugs but not unbearable. We arrived early and didn’t see many other hikers until we were close to the car. There was a nice little stream that we ate lunch at and soaked out feet in at the very top of the hike.

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.

Load More