I am starting new traditions for the 4th of July. I am ditching hosting my traditional BBQ family of 40 and going to hike. Now lets hope the weather fairies will shower us with some Fairy Sunny day.
I have hiked on many different trails on Mt Saint Helens but have not done this before.
I will have maps, and expertise knowledge of compass to follow the trail. I am now labeling it semi-exploratory.
TOTAL MILES: 11.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2535 feet
DIFFICULTY RATING: Moderate
ESTIMATED HIKING TIME: 8 hours
PERMITS: NW Forest Pass (drivers)
Starting at the Blue Lake Trailhead we will walk approximately 2.5 miles to reach a spectacular footbridge above Sheep Canyon's gorge. If we detour briefly, we will see a waterfall viewpoint. After another 1.5 miles, we will hit the Loowit Trail junction at the rim of the South Fork Toutle River's mudflow canyon. Another detour will give us a view of the river's tiered canyon to MSH. On the way back, we will climb the Loowit Trail up a long ridge into the 1980 blast zone and traverse the head of Sheep Canyon. From there we will continue back to the starting point.
Although I have been to MSH several times, I have not been to Sheep Canyon. Please be in good hiking shape before signing up for this hike. If the group wants to stop for refreshments after the hike, I am willing to do so.
The roundtrip mileage is approximately 115 miles ($12 to the drivers). A Northwest Forest Pass is required.
What to bring:
- Headlamp and flashlight
- Rain gear
- One or two extra warm layers
- Hat, Gloves (2 pair of gloves)
- Waterproof boots
- Gaiters to keep snow out of your boots - optional .
- Trekking poles - optional
- Something to sit on
- 2-3 liters of water, hiking snacks, ten essentials, non cotton clothing, sun screen.
PARTICIPATE AT YOUR OWN RISK; Organizers are volunteers. We come prepared to lead you on a trail or off trail hike but assume no liability for your safety getting to or from the trailhead or on the hike. In case of accident, illness, or other incapacity, hikers must pay for their own medical and/or evacuation expenses, whether or not the hiker has specifically authorized them.
Directions to trailhead: Interstate 5 north to Woodland exit 21. Turn right for 27.7 miles following signs to Cougar. Half a mile before Cougar turn left onto Road 8100 at a sign for Merrill Lake. Follow the paved road for 11.5 miles and then continue straight on gravel Road 8123 for 1.5 miles to the Blue Lake Trailhead at the road's end.