Backpacking at Mount St. Helens

August 9-12 - Loowit Backpacking

Distance:

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. Food and transportation from Mount St. Helens Institute provided.


Day 1:

Meet at Mount St. Helens Institute midday; meet your leaders, overview of route and food, review how to pack a backpack, and distribute group gear. Camp at the trailhead.

Day 2:

Hike 10.7 miles from Climber's Bivouac to our first backcountry camp at Plains of Abraham.

Day 3: 

Ascend Windy Pass and hike 10.7 miles across the barren Pumice Plain to camp near the South Fork of the Toutle River.

Day 4:

Cross the mighty Toutle River and ascend out of the gully to hike 11.5 miles back through second growth forest and across boulder fields to return to the Climber's Bivouac trailhead. Our final day will end with a hearty meal together in Cougar, our treat!


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SAMPLE PACKING LIST

September 7-9 - Beginner Backpacking

Distance:

15-20 miles loop

Elevation gain: 2,000 ft

Duration:

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. Food and transportation from Mount St. Helens Institute provided.


Day 1:

Meet at Mount St. Helens Institute midday; meet your leaders, overview of route and food, learn how to pack a backpack, and distribute group gear. 

Day 2:

Hike in 7-10 miles to camp and learn basics of backcountry living.

Day 3:

After a group breakfast, we will hike out 7-10 miles back to our trailhead. Our final day will end with a meal in Cougar, our treat!


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SAMPLE PACKING LIST