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Trip Report    

Loowit Trail

  • Tue, Aug 26, 2014
  • Loowit Trail
  • Backpacking

We spent three days, August 12-14, 2014, backpacking 35 miles counter-clockwise from Windy Ridge around Mt. St. Helens on the Loowit Trail, returning via the Abraham/Truman trail at the end. We started at 8:30 AM on August 12 and returned at 4:30 PM on August 14. Our first day's hike included a short side trip to Loowit Falls, which was worthwhile and made a nice lunch stop. The first day two rivers had to be forded, including the South Fork of the Toutle River, which was just before reaching our first night's camp. Having a third pair of wool socks would have kept me from hiking with wet feet and avoided blisters. The access to the campsite by the South Fork of the Toutle River needs to be better marked. We wasted a half hour in the rain searching for it. On our second day, after leaving the South Fork of the Toutle River, we had no water source until about an hour before reaching our second night's campsite at June Lake. Several rivers showing on the map on this hiking route turned out to be dry lahars. Also, on the second day there were several long stretches of the route that were on flows of large lava rock where the route could only be determined by observing posts set up at intervals along the way. It was much slower hiking on this rock than on a trail, so we reached camp the second night later than we thought we would. The lava rock was jagged, so a wrong step could have resulted in serious injury. Fortunately, that did not occur to anyone in our group. The third day we had the best trail conditions and therefore the shortest hiking time, nine hours. We were able to find water at a stream crossing and had magnificent views from the Abraham Trail during the last few miles. Overall, this was a challenging backpack trip, but one which we were all glad we had done, but probably would not do again. We had dinner both Monday night and Thursday night at the Mt. Adams Cafe in Randle and enjoyed the food served there. Monday night we car camped at Iron Springs Campground on FS Road 25 so we could be at the trailhead at 8 AM on Tuesday. That seemed to be the best routine for this trip.