Mount Margaret Loop

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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Water
Posts: 1173
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Mount Margaret Loop

Post by Water » April 26th, 2019, 7:17 pm

imo go and bring a collapsible bucket (which you could fill with snow) or some collapsible nalagene bladders. when you come across water, tank up. etc. Yeah maybe it stinks but if you're not boiling 4qt of water for pasta.. you can get by if you both grab an extra 2liter or something. I am going to be another voice of 'vague' but i've camped back there a number of times and it's always worked out, including in later summer.

not sure permits n all, but shovel and obscurity camps are excellent. as is dome. haven't stayed at bear or margaret though. You could do a shorter loop coming in the independence pass side, seeing the lakes, whittier ridge, dome camp, and lots of helens views.

St Helens lake, cold water, and the rock arch are pretty awesome too. but you could easily visit in a morning from dome camp before heading out. Just a thought. There's a ton of very cool stuff to see/do also on the East side of the monument on the drive out/in.

you should definitely come do something in MMBC though, it's epic one of a kind experience due to being highly 'alpine' feel at such low elevation, due to being in blast zone of the volcano. Views are insane.

as for navigation/bushwacking..over many years, never ever had issue. only issue is on whittier ridge. in fog you can get way off track. when clear, it takes a little of what I'd say is acquired trailfinding in a few moments. Like if it seems 'all wrong' then, you probably are. Just don't panic and be willing to look ahead a bit and try something--if the effort seems ridiculous, you're off track.
Feel Free to Feel Free

Schrauf
Posts: 73
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 10:28 am
Location: NE Portland

Re: Mount Margaret Loop

Post by Schrauf » April 28th, 2019, 2:52 pm

The springs at Bear Camp and Margaret Camp should be running in August, but check trip reports. Last year was very dry yet Bear Camp had usable water on Labor Day weekend. Helps to have a small container to fill larger containers or bladders as it was not visibly flowing but clean and fresh in several shallow pools. The spring is SW of the campsites, between the campsites and the trail and drops into a small creek bed. They run long after snow has disappeared of course because there is groundwater.

keithcomess
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Joined: April 24th, 2019, 8:04 pm

Re: Mount Margaret Loop

Post by keithcomess » April 28th, 2019, 2:59 pm

Schrauf, many thanks for the information!! Very sincerely appreciated! Is it safe to assume Ridge Camp is likely to be dry in August? Of course, I'll check again nearer to our departure date for updated reports. I'm asking all this because I'm endeavoring to recruit my reluctant brother (who's in Chicago) to join me on this trip.

Thanks again,
Keith

Schrauf
Posts: 73
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 10:28 am
Location: NE Portland

Re: Mount Margaret Loop

Post by Schrauf » April 28th, 2019, 5:06 pm

keithcomess wrote:
April 28th, 2019, 2:59 pm
Schrauf, many thanks for the information!! Very sincerely appreciated! Is it safe to assume Ridge Camp is likely to be dry in August? Of course, I'll check again nearer to our departure date for updated reports. I'm asking all this because I'm endeavoring to recruit my reluctant brother (who's in Chicago) to join me on this trip.
I've never been to Ridge Camp but my understanding is it's one of the first to dry up, which would probably mean no water in August unless a wetter year.

keithcomess
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Joined: April 24th, 2019, 8:04 pm

Re: Mount Margaret Loop

Post by keithcomess » April 28th, 2019, 5:42 pm

Schrauf,

Thanks for the assessment of Ridge!

Keith

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K.Wagner
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Joined: June 2nd, 2013, 1:25 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Mount Margaret Loop

Post by K.Wagner » May 8th, 2019, 9:44 am

The Ranger was correct about the trail up to Snow Lake, here is what I write about it:

The Route: (3,550 ft EG, 8 3/4 miles. This is the climb and distance to Snow Lake, not the round trip!) You have your choice of walking the #211 Lakes Trail to the upper end of Coldwater Lake, which is “zero net gain” for walking 4 miles with about 550 feet of Elevation Gain; or mountain bike about 4 1/2 miles, (with 670 feet EG) to the #230 Trail, (120 feet of net elevation gain); or canoeing Coldwater Lake for 3 1/4 miles. Beyond the head of the lake, the trail climbs 2,500 feet in about 4 3/4 miles. That doesn't sound bad, until you look at the profile. In the first 1 1/4 miles above Coldwater Lake, the trail only gains about 300 feet. Then you leave the shade provided by the timber, and begin the long, exposed, south facing traverse. Parts of the trail (indicated on the map here)
Snow_Lake-Map.jpg
are very rough (meaning zero maintenance, expect loose footing), and has 3 sections with slide damage that are intimidating.
Snow_Lk-Trail-slide.jpg
In that first 1 1/4 miles above the lake, the trail crosses several streams, that seem to run all summer. There are 2 other streams, one at about 2 1/2 miles above Coldwater Lake and one at about 4 1/2 miles up. Otherwise the entire traverse is dry. There is good camping at Snow Lake, 4,710 foot elevation (permit required). After the snow melt, the stream feeding the lake, indicated on the maps, disappears into the cinder, and it requires bush whacking upwards a bit, or walking up the trail to find cold water. Otherwise, warmer water is always available from the lake. Filtering or purifying is strongly recommended, for the elk are not very discreet about where they choose to do their body functions.
Kelly
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JustSomeHiker
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Joined: July 4th, 2017, 9:26 pm

Re: Mount Margaret Loop

Post by JustSomeHiker » May 8th, 2019, 1:51 pm

A little off topic, but I thought I would ask here since this thread has recent activity. Does anyone have any experience with Ridge Camp that can definitively say if it has a decent view or is worth checking out? I've tried searching old threads and searching Google for images of the actual camp, but keep coming up empty. I was thinking about heading up there for a quick early-season overnight, but not actually sure its worth the effort.

keithcomess
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Joined: April 24th, 2019, 8:04 pm

Re: Mount Margaret Loop

Post by keithcomess » May 8th, 2019, 7:12 pm

K.Wagner,

Many thanks for the detailed info!

Keith

Schrauf
Posts: 73
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 10:28 am
Location: NE Portland

Re: Mount Margaret Loop

Post by Schrauf » May 8th, 2019, 7:44 pm

JustSomeHiker wrote:
May 8th, 2019, 1:51 pm
A little off topic, but I thought I would ask here since this thread has recent activity. Does anyone have any experience with Ridge Camp that can definitively say if it has a decent view or is worth checking out? I've tried searching old threads and searching Google for images of the actual camp, but keep coming up empty. I was thinking about heading up there for a quick early-season overnight, but not actually sure its worth the effort.
Isn't this Ridge Camp? Several picts here. https://www.theoutbound.com/washington/ ... ridge-camp#

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teachpdx
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Joined: January 21st, 2014, 4:45 pm

Re: Mount Margaret Loop

Post by teachpdx » May 9th, 2019, 11:13 am

I expect that trail conditions on the Lakes Trail will get better throughout the summer.

In another thread, WTA is planning to do a couple trail work parties in the Mt. Margaret Backcountry. Hopefully their work can tackle some of these notoriously problematic areas.

http://www.oregonhikers.org/forum/viewt ... 13&t=28160

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