Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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tbritt2112
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Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Post by tbritt2112 » February 22nd, 2019, 2:01 pm

Wanting to do this hike in July or August. Good hike? Trails marked well and easy to follow? Just wondering if the payoff is worth it and how close do you get to the falls? I bet MSH is huge being that close. I believe I read when you get to LF you are about 1 mile from crater and lava dome.

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drm
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Re: Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Post by drm » February 24th, 2019, 8:35 am

You get fairly close, but how dramatic it is will depend a lot on the water flow, which varies with the season. I think the trail is fine and easy to follow and for me, the unique terrain in the area in general is as much a draw as the falls. I would generally recommend relatively earlier when he water flow, both in the falls and in creeks, is higher.

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adamschneider
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Re: Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Post by adamschneider » February 24th, 2019, 10:28 am

MSH is indeed huge from that close, but since you're basically ON the mountain at that point, your field of view is limited. From Loowit Falls, you can see part of the crater rim, but not much (if any) of the lava dome.

tbritt2112
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Re: Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Post by tbritt2112 » February 25th, 2019, 7:21 am

Thanks for the replies. When would you suggest doing this hike? Looks like MSH area is getting quite a bit of snow this winter. Guess it would depend on when the road to WR opens and snow melt on the trails? I live in North Carolina btw.

bghiker
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Re: Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Post by bghiker » February 25th, 2019, 8:48 am

If you want the big crater/lava dome view, you may want to consider Johnston Ridge as a starting point rather than Windy Ridge. Its a longer hike from Johnston Ridge but the views are better. Windy Ridge is closer to the mountain but you can't really see into the crater from there because it is around the corner from the breach. The trail from Windy Ridge is also close to the mountain so when you do get around to the north side where the breach is, you are too close to get a good view of it. Johnston Ridge is also much easier to get to and will definitely be open by July/August. If I remember correctly, the road to Windy Ridge was closed for a season or so due to slides?? You can look at the Mt St Helens NVM website for updates on road closures and trail conditions/maps.

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kepPNW
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Re: Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Post by kepPNW » February 25th, 2019, 9:55 am

bghiker wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 8:48 am
If you want the big crater/lava dome view, you may want to consider Johnston Ridge as a starting point rather than Windy Ridge. Its a longer hike from Johnston Ridge but the views are better.
^^^ This! Without question. The hike from Windy to Loowit Falls is "boring!" by all measures compared with the route from JRO. And the drive is relatively excruciating, too. If it's your "One and only" while visiting, and you have 17 miles or so of range, you may want to seriously consider this longer adventure.

Peak bloom happens first few weeks of July, it seems, but can vary. Across the plains, the variety is plentiful. From Windy, it's mostly dwarf lupine, which while extremely fragrant (sickeningly so, some might say) and relatively abundant, just doesn't compare to the stretch along the Truman Trail.

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July 2, 2016
Karl
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tbritt2112
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Re: Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Post by tbritt2112 » February 25th, 2019, 10:05 am

Yes I have done the hike out from JRO twice. 2017 to the point at the end of devils elbow and 2018 to Harrys Ridge. Ive never been to the WR side. So, is the road to WR gonna be closed this season? Slides in the area?

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kepPNW
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Re: Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Post by kepPNW » February 25th, 2019, 10:43 am

tbritt2112 wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 10:05 am
Yes I have done the hike out from JRO twice. 2017 to the point at the end of devils elbow and 2018 to Harrys Ridge. Ive never been to the WR side. So, is the road to WR gonna be closed this season? Slides in the area?
That road to Windy is often the last to open each year. This year has much more snow than many, too. Dunno what your range is, but the road to Ape Canyon generally opens up far earlier and is about two hours closer to town. Lots more variety hiking to Loowit Falls from there, too, though it is considerably farther (GPS track) and some sections certainly (esp. Windy Pass) more challenging.
tbritt2112 wrote:
February 22nd, 2019, 2:01 pm
Wanting to do this hike in July or August. Good hike? Trails marked well and easy to follow? Just wondering if the payoff is worth it and how close do you get to the falls? I bet MSH is huge being that close. I believe I read when you get to LF you are about 1 mile from crater and lava dome.
It's a nice ramble. Not a lot of variety along the way, and the mountain certainly lacks its iconic profile due to how darn close you are. You can get to within a few hundred yards of the falls which, IMO, are a bit underwhelming. No view of the crater from there, and just a sliver of the rim.

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End of the trail to Loowit Falls. July 13, 2018

Trails are well marked and easy to follow.
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drm
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Re: Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Post by drm » February 26th, 2019, 10:47 am

For some reason they keep access to Windy Ridge closed through the Spring, but it's almost always open by July 4th. And if you're going to Windy Ridge as a change after having already been to JRO, you should use the time spent to get to so remote a spot to also cross Windy Pass into the Plains of Abraham and check out that area.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Loowit Falls Hike from Windy Ridge

Post by Don Nelsen » February 26th, 2019, 12:09 pm

What a difference the view of the falls is today: Here's a photo I took on Aug. 26th, 1995:
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"Everything works in the planning stage".

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