Loowit Trail #216 Conditions

May 18, 2017.  

The Loowit Trail is snow covered. This winter has brought significant snow to Mount St. Helens and hikers can expect the Loowit Trail to be snow covered until late June/ early July especially on the south side. Currently access is limited to the south side via the Swift Ski Trail from the Marble Mountain Sno-Park.

The Loowit Trail #216 is a rugged and challenging trail for experienced hikers.  Most backpackers complete the loop in three days.  Marble Mountain Sno-park is a the suggested starting point to begin the Loowit Trail due to limited parking at June Lake Trailhead.  Approach via the Swift Ski Trail. No Camping, Dogs, Bicycles or Fires in the Class 3 Research Area between the South Fork Toutle River and Windy Pass.  Livestock is prohibited on any portion of the Loowit Trail.

Expected conditions Summer 2017

Expect washouts and difficulties traveling through gullies after this winter snow and rain events. South Fork Toutle may be difficult to cross due to high flow. PLEASE CHECK WEATHER FORECAST.

Hikers can expect the Loowit Trail to be snow covered. The trail may be difficult to see and/or follow in places. Crossing steep gullies and washed out areas can be challenging and may require extra care and time.  Allow plenty of time to traverse these sections.

The crossings at the Muddy River, Shoestring Creek and several other gullies between Ape Canyon Trail #234 and June Lake Trail #216B are difficult due to sloughing and steep terrain.  Some hikers may be uncomfortable crossing these gullies.  Allow extra time to cross.  Currently passable.  Follow flagging.

The South Fork Toutle is difficult to cross due to erosion and deposition in the flood plain.  Look for flagging just past the Toutle/ Loowit intersection on the left.  Flagging and cairns help guide hikers across river, taking hikers downstream and up the other side.

There is a reroute at the Blue Lake Wash. The trail runs on the east and west sides of the wash. When hiking from June Lake, hike up the wash about 25 yards and the trail will pick up on the west side. 

At Studebaker Creek, the trail crosses a gully of loose pumice and can be difficult to find and traverse due to erosion and deposition.

Trail has been reported hard to follow through rock wash in front of the crater. Cairns mark the way.

Reports indicate that Windy Pass is difficult to cross, alternative route is to the use the Abraham Trail.

Hikers may also encounter hunters during late summer and fall seasons.

You may encounter scientific equipment near the trail. Please do not disturb.

Water:

Year-round springs are located at the following locations: Please filter all water sources

1 mile from the Butte Camp/ Loowit Junction on the Butte Camp Trail.

1/4 mile from the Loowit /Toutle Trail Junction on the Toutle Trail.  (Toutle section of trail has been damaged by trees, bridge out near stream)

1/2 mile from the Windy/ Loowit Trail Junction

There are additional water sources of snow melt and creeks around the mountain but these may be limited during late summer.

Please practice Leave No Trace principles while on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest!