Mount Saint Helens via Worm Flows Trail

HARD 84 reviews

Mount Saint Helens via Worm Flows Trail is a 9.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cougar, Washington that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

9.7 miles
5,577 feet
Out & Back





nature trips

rock climbing







wild flowers





off trail

no shade

no dogs

The Worm Flows Climbing Route, from Marble Mountain Snow-Park, is the most direct route to the summit of Mount St. Helens during the winter season. Ice axe, crampons, and avalanche awareness are recommended on this route. Skis with climbing skins or snow shoes with cleats are also highly recommended. From the Marble Mountain Sno-Park use the Swift Ski Trail, #244 to reach timberline. Cross to the west side of Swift Creek, just above Chocolate Falls (elev. 3,700'). Follow ridges and open slopes to the crater rim. Wooden route marking posts guide climbers from timberline to approximately 4,800' elevation. Round trip is approximately 12 miles, Round trip time is approximately 7 to 10 hours. To reduce your exposure to avalanche potential, stay away from snow loaded slopes and gully bottoms. Stay off the cornices at the crater rim Please note that campsite may be temporarily closed.

2 months ago

Amazinnnggg! first big summit for me, about 8hours of hiking!

3 months ago

Hiked a few weeks back thought I might share a video I made about my experience. Hope you enjoy:

Be safe out there,
NW Adventures

3 months ago

Wonderful hike. So worth the last painful miles! Highly recommend! It took us about 9hrs total. Also glissading was AMAZING! I was tempted to hike back up the mountain just so I could glissading down again.

3 months ago

Road to trailhead to Ptarmigan route is closed during the winter/spring. We fortunately found this out the evening before climbing on June 18th. It was a surprise since so many people recently left reviews under the other route (maybe they didn't realize there were a couple ways up? Or maybe the rangers we talked to didn't know there was another way to get to the summer trailhead?). Worms Flow trail ended up being a great hike. GPS clocked it at about 10.5 miles rt. First two miles gentle incline through forest followed by some pretty rough landscape.Gardening gloves were nice for scrambling over the rocks. Suprisingly windy on this sunny clear day. Last mile and a half were extremely steep. My kids (11&12) had microspikes/gaiters and did fine on the ice/snow which ended up pretty slushy by the time we reached the top. I had crampons. As posted before, glissading was great. Able to come down about 1.7 miles from the top by sliding. Took our young crew about 12hrs start to finish. Leisurely pace, lots of breaks, and no complaints.

4 months ago

such a great climb! started later than we wanted and multiple groups coming down stating weather wasn't permitting a summit, no visability. We as a group decided to go as far as the last of the rocks on the trail then make a call on the summit. as the discussion was taking place, wind shifted and gave us a window to take the last push. Amazing views once we broke the clouds. Sliding down was the funnest part except taking the wrong route down, once we realized our mistake we were six ridges over from our needed path down, this added at least another 90 minutes to get down, GPS saved the day. Lots of boulder scrambles, wish I had crampons instead of micro spikes but just a little extra work.

4 months ago

WTA has this clocked it at 12.0 miles rt with 5,699 elevation gain. Starting at the Marble Mount Snow Park. Don’t under-estimate this climb. It’s ruff for all the obvious reasons. Classic NW climb. Standing on the crater is an unexpected powerful experience.

4 months ago

Overall a great experience! Hiked on 5/11/18. We used hiking poles and micro-spikes. Ice axe was helpful for glissading down. Took ~9 hours total -- ~7 hours up, ~2 hours down. Learn from our mistake and put on sunscreen and re-apply :)

5 months ago

Amazing trail-- this is the only way to summit during the winter months (we went mid may and was still the technically winter). Would recommend crampons, hiking poles, and an extra trash bag to glissade down on!

5 months ago

Lot tougher then expected, the grades toward the top were rough. Crampons at 1 mile, snowshoes at about 2.5. Sunscreen is a must. Also make sure you wear easy to remove layers. left the lot at 0530 it was in the 20's, in a mile was down to a tee shirt. Was sunny and in the 70's really wished the snow pants I had on had shorts under them for the climb up. Loved them glissading on the way down though.

5 months ago

First time here, very cool experience. Went on the last day of an April heat wave, snow was very soft. Can’t wait to go back again sometime. Make sure you bring snow shoes, crampons, and an ice axe. 98% of everyone out that day had snow shoes and trekking poles. I got away with crampons till I switched to snow shoes the last couple hundred yards, though I’m not sure that was any easier.

5 months ago

A fantastic climb, make sure you bring snowshoes, crampons (or at least micro spikes) and an ice axe. Be careful at the top, there is a cornice at the edge of the summit that is difficult to see at first. Incredible views, next time I’ll brings skis.

5 months ago

First time hiking a real mountain and I’m officially hooked. Went on 4/22/18 and lucked out with a very clear day. Views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Rainier. Summiting was an awesome experience!!!

6 months ago

The primary winter route. I have done this route seven (7) times this 2017/2018) winter. On a nice day you will have an amazing view. Basic mountaineering gears will be essential for your safety. Have snowshoes and crampons ready as they may be the deciding factor between you making it to the summit rim or turning around. Some day you can just boot it to the summit but other days you will need snowshoes or crampons as you will posthole or slide on ice. Just be prepared and you will have a great time here.

9 months ago

Fairly straightforward and easy approach to Mt St. Helena crater rim.

There are definitely higher elevations to the west of the crater rim if you feel like hiking around.

Conditions will really make or break this hike; I lucked out with near perfect weather.

Friday, June 23, 2017

simply unreal.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Spent the night at the trailhead to get an early start, 4am. It got light by 5am ish. The trail starts in a forest and turns in to a rocky/snowy canyon before the snowfields. We hiked on the rocks until the weather station. We put our crampons on there because the snow was so hard. Please! If you are going, be prepared! Crampons are NECESSARY to feel stable and secure. The second to last slope is so so steep and rough, but I mean they all are

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bring sunscreen! the reflection off the snow will do damage. learn from my mistake.

It's hard. there's a couple of times you think your at the top. don't ask the people that look like they do it in there sleep. they Will give you false hope because your not even close. The elevation will affect your body, be prepared that every step is going to be slower than your normal pace. plus most of the path your following others steps in the snow. The struggle is real, but 90% of everyone is in the same boat laughing and fighting it as well. feed off those good vibes and you will make it!

once you get to the top you will make a mental note to never do it again. *you will change your mind. just wait for the glissade down. we didn't have ice axes but when the snow warms up you won't go as fast. just use your trekking pole and feet to dig in. I would look at the conditions tho. if it's icy I wouldn't risk it without proper tools. don't do it because I said do.
Gear I used- crampons, trekking poles, gloves , gaiters , sunglasses, windbreaker, moleskin (feet), trashbag (get the largest)

wish I would of had- sunscreen , t-shirt

wish I never had- thermals ( to hot that day)

we started at 6am & didn't get down till 7pm. 9 hours up (lots of breaks) 4 hours down.

also I have heard that this trekk will leave you sore. I walked away with no pain besides sunburns. the snow is very soft apparently for joints. I did table mt and walked away destroyed and helens is so much more intense. I also didn't train. eveyone is different so don't quote me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The summer route is still closed; took a day off work to go up this way. Started around 7:00, made it up to the top by 11:30 with about 3:30 of moving time.

The beginning of the trail was very misty; we missed the Chocolate Falls crossing originally because we couldn't see the markers on the other side. The trail is very well-marked for the most part, with large posts and/or footprints from earlier climbers to guide you. You can avoid putting on your crampons or microspikes for the first few miles; the trail takes you up a rocky ridge. I put my microspikes on at the weather station. From there it's a step machine to the summit. Unfortunately, a cloud hung over the crater so we couldn't see anything.

A few tips:
- re-apply sunscreen at the top; otherwise, you'll get burned on the way down
- bring gaiters even if it's warm; otherwise, your feet will get wet on the way down
- don't forget sunglasses and try to cover up as much skin as you can
- bring waterproof pants for glissading. Ice axe optional, but recommended

All in all, a fun day on the mountain!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Great hike don't miss the turn to marble Mountain you will not be disappointed bring a sled or garbage bag best hike ever.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Very challenging! You should at minimum have micro spikes as there is a lot of snow at the lower elevation. Also, as of yesterday worms flows was the only trail open adding additional distance to the climb. You should try and hit the trail at first light to allow for changing weather and slow progression. We didn't hit the summit until 4pm after starting late around 7, weather blew in and made visibility poor at 6000ft. I would also recommend carrying GPS if the weather report doesn't call for clear skies. My partner and I had an awesome time!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Memorial Day. Great day to climb. Perfect weather. Snow hard in morning. Mushy towards 930 am. Started at 3 am. Summit at 10am. Glissaded down almost to tree line. Watch out for rocks in some of the runs. Ideal to have ice axe and micro spikes. We didn't have crampons but also didn't need them. Remember sunscreen and apply often. Please stay away from edge, a couple people got too close. Have the ten essentials. Most of all be safe and have fun.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

More like 10 miles. Really fun if you go on the right day when the weather is good.

Monday, March 27, 2017

perfect day. a foot of powder. no wind and empty parking lots at every trailhead. alone on a volcano. amazing.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Love this trail!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

14 May 2016
Plenty of snow still! Started to rain on us a little on the way out, but it was still an amazing hike. One of the best I've ever done!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

We climbed on a beautiful spring day, and had a blast. Snowshoes were necessary from the sno-park (for which you'll need a permit) until we got high enough for the snow to turn icy. From there we used yaktrax/ice trekkers. Full crampons wouldn't really have helped, but we saw many people wearing them.

We glissaded down from the rim to the ridge around 4800 feet, which was a blast, but it didn't help our jealousy for all the skiers and snowboarders. I imagine that activity can get pretty hairy, but it was a perfect day for it when we were there.

We took it relatively slow and were back to the car 10 and a half hours later.

CHECK THE WEATHER. We had a beautiful day, but it's still a mountain in winter-ish conditions and things could have been much worse.

Thursday, February 04, 2016


Monday, January 12, 2015

Always check current conditions before doing this climb. Wasn't not able to make the summit due to adverse conditions. Everyone I meet on the mountain turned around also about the weather station (around 6500 ft). Not much snow right now. Skiers and boarders had a hard time coming down with all the rocks. You can still glissade parts of it though. Climbing permits are free during the winter, you just need a Sno-Park parking pass. You start at Marble Mountain Sno-Park (2700 ft). We camped by chocolate falls (4800 ft) and attempted the summit the next day. We used snow shoes on the way up and glissaded down. Ice axe highly recommended and with show shoes or crampons.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Awesome hike check current snow conditions and bring crampons if necessary. we did this in trail shoes with out crampons in snow on May25 and it was slick. would of been a lot easier with crampons and sticks or axe. totally spectacular view of Rainer Adams and hood I think. sliding down in the snow in rain pants was a quick and fun way Down

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