Field Seminars

Since 2000, our field seminars have helped educate hundreds of people about the wild wonders of Mount St. Helens. We’ve taken people exploring on the Pumice Plain, led them to the volcano’s summit, showed them the stars, and shared with them the history of the eruption and how it changed the land. Our seminars are taught by highly experienced instructors who are passionate about their topic and eager to share their knowledge with the public. Seminars are open to all ages. Youth under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

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April 14-15 - NOLS Wilderness First Aid at the Science and Learning Center

For detailed course info, click HERE

Meeting Location: Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center

Difficulty: Accessible

Whether spending time in the backcountry is your passion or your profession, you should never have to ask, "What do I do now?" Prepare for the unexpected with this fun, hands-on introduction to wilderness medicine. If you like to take short trips relatively close to medical resources, work at camps or lead wilderness trips, enjoy weekend family outdoor activities, or recreate outdoors, this course is for you. You'll learn the Patient Assessment System, how to provide effective first aid treatments for injuries and illnesses common in the outdoors, how to manage environmental emergencies, and how to make appropriate evacuation decisions. You will spend half your time practicing skills and participating in realistic scenarios.

Upon successful course completion you will earn the following NOLS Wilderness Medicine certifications: Wilderness First Aid, Epinephrine Auto-injector, and on courses with the CPR module, Adult and Child CPR & Airway Management.

Registration includes the course, homemade meals, and shared lodging Saturday and Sunday. Option to arrive Friday includes dinner, extra night of lodging, and Saturday breakfast.


May 20 - Tracking and Animal Signs


4-5 miles

Meeting Location: 

Pine Creek Information Center

Difficulty: Easy

A combination of storytelling and detective work, tracking provides a way to observe the mystery of wild animals, enabling us to detect their presence and learn about them from afar.  We will explore both on and off trail, using clues from animal tracks and trail patterns in a variety of mediums. Total hiking will not exceed 4 miles, with numerous stops to engage in learning opportunities along the way. This trip will be led by Teri Lysak, chairperson for Cascadia Wild, who has been teaching tracking for ten years and is Level 3 Track and Sign certified.


Awesome Hike


10 miles

Elevation Gain: 2000 ft (loss 3700 ft)

Meeting Location: Johnston Ridge Observatory

Difficulty: Strenuous

Perhaps the most spectacular trail system in the Mount St. Helens area, this challenging 10 mile hike from Johnston Ridge Observatory winds through the heart of the blast zone in the Mount Margaret Backcountry, past Coldwater Peak, and along south Coldwater Ridge. You’ll see spectacular wildflower displays, stunning views of St. Helens Lake and Spirit Lake, and twisted logging equipment: all reminders of the destructive and renewing powers of this great volcano. And at the end of the day, we’ll shuttle the group back to Johnston Ridge from Coldwater Lake. Guided by the Mount St. Helens Institute complete with geology and biology lessons, this will be a day you won’t soon forget!





August 9-12 - Loowit Backpacking


33 miles loop

Elevation Gain: 8,000 ft

Duration: Approximately 8-10 hiking hours/day depending on conditions and group, for 3 full days on the trail

Meeting Location: Mount St. Helen’s Institute 

42218 NE Yale Bridge Rd, Amboy, WA 98601

Difficulty: Extreme

The Loowit Trail is one of the top backpacking trips in the Pacific Northwest. You'll see the volcano from every angle on this challenging and awe-inspiring 4 day guided trip, learning about the natural history of Mount St. Helens while you're immersed in it!  Highlights of the trip include scenery ranging from old-growth to open expanses of volcanic blast zone; great potential to see wildlife including elk, mountain goats and black bear; up-close looks at the crater, Crater Glacier, and Spirit Lake; spectacular wildflower displays; and views from Mt. Rainier to the Three Sisters. This trip is designed for experienced backpackers.






September 7-9 - Beginner Backpacking


15-20 miles loop

Elevation gain: 2,000 ft


5-8 hiking hours/day for two full days

Meeting Location: Mount St. Helens Institute

42218 NE Yale Bridge Rd, Amboy WA 98601

Difficulty: Moderate

Get introduced to the world of backpacking with this three day, two night trip in the epic shadow of an active volcano. We will meet as a group on Friday afternoon to discuss Backpacking 101, learn about gear, and how to pack our packs efficiently. After spending our first night in the front country, we will head to our trailhead Saturday morning and hike in to our beautiful backcountry campsite. We will cook dinner all together and hike out the next day, leaving plenty of time to explore the fall colors along the trail.




October 6 - Mushroom Foraging

Meeting Location: Pine Creek Information Station

Difficulty: Easy

Come explore the magical kingdom of fungi! Learn how to identify common characteristics of wild edible and inedible mushrooms. Then learn how to harvest many different types of edible mushrooms and cook them into delicious dishes. Plan to get your shoes and hands dirty as you discover the forest's most striking and sometimes delectable offerings.