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Sheep Canyon (Mt St Helens area) semi exploratory

 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

PACE:   2.00

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:

-10 essentials

- 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

- Camera

- 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.

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  • Tom

    Wow, what a great day. Really nice to meet everyone...look forward to seeing you all again. Thank you Shana and Chatchay! Happy trails....

    July 6, 2014

  • Mike

    Thanks so much for a great hike and lots of great conversation! A great way to spend the 4th.

    2 · July 6, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great time with a great group!

    July 6, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Twas an amazing time! Thank you Shana for aranging the group. Thank you to Chatchay for leading us through! it was a good time!

    1 · July 6, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Fantastic 4th of July and great company. Thanks everyone.

    2 · July 5, 2014

  • Chatchay Ramone de la M.

    Beautiful day to do a 4th of July hike. Great company. Thank you Shana for organizing and letting me help lead. Totally awesome. I will see you on a next outdoor adventure.

    2 · July 4, 2014

  • jason

    It is a fabulous hiking thanks to Shana!

    3 · July 4, 2014

  • Sean

    This was a wonderful hike ably led by Shana and Chatchay.

    3 · July 4, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wonderful trail and view. Love it

    3 · July 4, 2014

  • Joanne

    Thanks everyone for such a fabulous outing! I enjoyed meeting you all so much - and big kudos to Shana & Chatchay leading us through such gorgeous terrain.

    3 · July 4, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great to spend the holiday with such friendly, engaging hikers and in such a beautiful place! So lovely to meet you all.

    5 · July 4, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    If anyone would like full-size versions of the group photo (or of any of the others I posted) feel free to email me at [masked]. It was so nice to meet all of you--what an awesome group!

    4 · July 4, 2014

  • Rukshana(Shana)

    And a big thank you for chatchay to pacing, us that we got done early wohoo..

    2 · July 4, 2014

  • Rukshana(Shana)

    Thanks everyone for an amazing day. It started a bit rough scramble but we managed it well together.
    I couldn't ask for a better day with blue skies, unimaginable vistas of the ridge line. What can we say the wild flowers where at it's perfect peak. Wishing you a wonderful 4th. Thanks again for coming along with me to & start new traditions.

    3 · July 4, 2014

  • Esteban H.

    So I hurt my leg trying to cut a rug to los lobos at blues festival. Olga and I will need to sit this one out. Truly sorry for late notice

    July 4, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Here is the most recent trip report via WTA. http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/trip_report.2014-07-03.8984639457. An excellent resource for Washington hikes! Enjoy!

    1 · July 3, 2014

  • Esteban H.

    Any idea how long the drive is to get up into the area?

    1 · July 3, 2014

    • Rukshana(Shana)

      Approximately 115 hour round trip, so about 1 hour each & 10 min, give and take.

      July 3, 2014

  • Rukshana(Shana)

    Hello everyone!! We will be meeting at Gateway @ 7:00 am. If you are running late & you want us to wait for you pls call me @[masked]-0558.
    I don't like to make carpool arrangements here, chat window ..because a lot can change in the next 24 hours. People change their minds all the time. ...etc..To avoid all the commotion, We will make carpool arrangements at Gateway. Make sure you have enough water it's suppose to be in the 80s degree. Don't forget your carpool $$ for the drivers.
    Looking forward to spending the 4th with all of your guys tomorrow.

    1 · July 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Baaaaa!

    July 2, 2014

  • elle

    I really wanted to go but still sick ㅠ.ㅠ Thank you for leading it anyways :)

    July 2, 2014

  • Chatchay Ramone de la M.

    Je suis d'y être facile. Merci beaucoup tout les gens. À bientôt.

    July 1, 2014

  • jason

    I have a NW forest pass. I also can take up to 3 persons.

    July 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hello, looks like I just RSVP'd the last spot. I could drive and take up to 3 folks (I have a NW Forest Pass); otherwise see you at the TH.

    July 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I only have a two-seater and live north of Woodland. I will meet you all at the trailhead! You will probably find me reading in the back of my pickup, weather permitting. Friday looks to be a winner!

    1 · June 30, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      If anyone else lives north or near the Woodland area, I am willing to drive. Just let me know!

      1 · June 30, 2014

    • Rukshana(Shana)

      Sounds Good Travis. See you soon.

      June 30, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Typically at REI. Only need one per car though. I will be bringing mine.

    2 · June 30, 2014

  • Paul W.

    Sorry, I now see that the RSVPs opens at 7pm tonight

    1 · June 28, 2014

  • Paul W.

    So how do you sign up if there are spots left but RSVPs are closed?

    June 28, 2014

  • dara

    Sheep canyon is one of my very favorite hikes. Truly spectacular. You will love it.

    1 · June 25, 2014

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