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Hummocks Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking south from the Hummocks Trail (Steve Hart)
Pond with Coldwater Ridge behind, Hummocks Trail (bobcat)
Cardwell's penstemon (Penstemon cardwellii), Hummocks Trail (bobcat)
Beaver pond on the Hummocks Trail (Steve Hart)
Map showing the Hummocks Loop (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo

Contents

Hike Description

This easy interpretive trail gives another perspective on the destruction wrought on May 18th, 1980. The "hummocks" are massive mounds of pyroclastic material - not just ash but also some large boulders - that used to be part of Mount Saint Helens. The trail undulates through this revegetating landscape, the stark slopes of the mounds contrasting with alder-shaded bogs, and reaches the North Fork Toutle River Viewpoint, from which you can scan the much altered landscape for herds of elk.

To begin the hike, take the trail at the far end of the lot (the left one, as you enter the parking area). This part of the Hummocks Trail is also the Boundary Trail. The trail weaves slowly downhill through meadows, past ponds and around hummocks. Several interpretive signs explain the formation and evolution of hummocks. The Hummocks Trail splits from the Boundary Trail at the Boundary-Hummocks Trail Junction a half-mile from the trailhead. There's a nice view of Mount Saint Helens over a pond from the junction.

Turn right and follow the Hummocks Trail downhill. There's a pretty pond 2/10 of a mile later that's often the home of ducks and geese. The trail crosses an arm of the lake on a short bridge. tow-tenths of a mile farther, you'll come to a nice viewpoint of the North Fork of the Toutle River. Continuing river erosion continues to widen the streambed and a short section of the trail has slid down the hill. Not to worry though, hikers have created a new, safer route around the slipout.

There's a side trail in a bit, that leads to the signed North Fork Toutle River Viewpoint. Take in views here to the west and then continue on the Hummocks Trail. The trail crosses seasonal streams on small wooden bridges under white alders, and then comes to a recent beaver dam. Beavers have created two dams here and the large lodge is just a few feet from the trail. Continue past a second, smaller beaver pond, then up the hill to the parking lot.

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument & Administrative Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount St. Helens - Mt. Adams

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • This is one of the few trailheads in the area that does not require a monument pass.
  • Stay on trail: minimum $100 fine for leaving trail
  • No dogs allowed

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • A FalconGuide to Mount St. Helens by Fred Barstad
  • Day Hiking: South Cascades by Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer
  • Day Hiking Mount St. Helens by Craig Romano & Aaron Theisen
  • Pacific Northwest National Parks & Monuments: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan

More Links

Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.