On 7/23/18 the BITING FLIES were HORRIBLE on the Sheep Canyon Loop, Mount Saint Helens. In spite of non-Deet bug repellent applied beforehand and Deet during my hike, I got 60 bites on my right leg and 42 on my left, plus some on my arms. If you want to hike this trail, I suggest that you wait until fall. Even if the bugs were gone I can't rate this trail highly. There are way too many miles in the woods and only a few places with great views. Earlier in the week I experienced much more scenic hikes (and without bugs) on the north and east sides of the mountain.
The Field Guide lists distance at 11.3 miles and elevation gain 2535 feet. My GPS track shows 12.3 miles and 2987 feet of elevation gain.
On the way in the mountain was backlighted by morning light so I suggest that you wait to take photos of it until your return trip when the lighting is better. I didn't shoot much until 4.8 miles in.
For me Crescent Ridge was the best part of the hike but the flies took away the enjoyment of eating lunch with such a grand view. Doing the loop CCW you will be going basically west and descending Crescent Ridge. The trail crosses over to the south side of the ridge offering some nice views of Sheep Canyon, etc.
At the bottom there are several streams where it took me awhile to find the correct trail. Conditions could change before you hike it, but this is what I found at the time. I crossed the first stream on several large tree chunks. Then I managed to climb over a large fallen tree, which was difficult because there were no limbs for hand or foot holds. I started uphill on a trail which shortly petered out. Returning to the large fallen tree I crossed another converging stream after which the real trail came into view.
Speaking of fallen trees, there are several at various places across the trail which had not been cut away. Some are broken up and some can be hiked around so don't really pose an issue. One large one was a climb over but had limbs for hand and foot holds.
The side trail to view Sheep Canyon Falls (immediately after the high footbridge) was worth the extra but short distance.
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
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