Climbing The Majestic Mount. St. Helens

Written by on June 5, 2013 in Lifestyle - No comments | Print this page


mt_st._helens_2Mt. St. Helens has 200 Miles of Trails

For those who have a desire to increase their mountain climbing experiences, a good start is Mt St Helens in Washington State.

Washington State has taken this landscape and turned it into a hikers dream.

Thirty years ago you had very few options on what type of hikes you could take now there are more than 200 miles of trails. These will take you through summer wildflowers, young forests, new lakes, and huge mounds of ash and rock with a growing volcanic crater.

Come Prepared

Before I talk about some of the hikes I will cover some of things to be aware of. First BE PREPARED for the elements. You have little tree cover so you will be exposed to the sun, rain and especially the wind.

You just have to pack the proper mountain gear for the variety of things you may face. You will want to carry sunscreen and a hat to avoid sun damage, also sunglasses and a couple layers of hiking clothes in case the weather conditions change.

There is also little water along many of the trails so please carry plenty with you. There is are also a few rules in the “blast zone” that instruct the hikers to stay on the trail and leave the dogs at home. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all the rules before you head out.

Great Hike for the Kids

If you have children and are looking to take them on a hike that will show the history of a volcano, then I would recommend the Hammocks trail. This trail is best taken during June-November.

It is about 2.3 miles round trip and features a landscape defined by towering mounds of ash rock and mud. This valley used to feature old growth forest but life is returning. You will have the opportunity to pass small majestic ponds and really see the devastation that was caused by Mount St. Helens eruption.

Ape Caves’ Lava Tubes

Planning an entertaining hike for older children or even a scout group can be difficult. The Ape Caves is a great one to start with, it is 2.6 miles long with the ideal months to hike being May-November.

This hike leads you down into the subterranean lava tubes formed in thick lava beds. There are two tubes however, so they do not connect to each other. You will have to choose which one you want to go visit.

The lower tube is the easier of the two, the upper tube being larger. Make sure you bring powerful flashlights and spare batteries, the caves are pitch black without them. The temperature in the caves is also fairly cold (approximately 42 degrees Fahrenheit) so wear a jacket to stay warm.

Climbing the Mountain

The third is actually climbing St. Helens. The hike is a 10miles round trip with a 4500’ elevation gain. Do not mistake the mistake of attempting to climb Mt. St. Helens if you aren’t used to that great of an elevation change.

You will want to carry plenty of water with you while you clime several miles of boulder fields and ash. The climb is worth it when you reach the top; the crater is growing every year along with the glacier that borders it. Permits are required for this climb so plan a head.

Mount St. Helens offers many hikes with beauty that you cannot see every day. The ones that are listed above are just a couple which provide some knowledge of the history of this volcano and the appreciation for the beauty that is there.

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Tyler Tebbs is a avid lover of hiking and camping. He loves the outdoors so much he started his own company called Excursion Outfitters which sales all sorts of mountain gear including sleeping bags, tents, camping stoves, hiking apparel, and sleeping pads.


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