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Mount St. Helens Winter Route: Worm Flows

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 4.9 (16) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

The Worm Flows Climbing Route is the most direct winter route to the summit of Mount St. Helens.


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Map Key

10.5

Miles

17.0

KM

Out and Back

8,258' 2,517 m

High

2,675' 815 m

Low

5,600' 1,707 m

Up

5,599' 1,707 m

Down

20%

Avg Grade (11°)

65%

Max Grade (33°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views

A Climbing Permit is required per person, per day that you'll be traveling above 4800 ft on the slopes of Mount St. Helens. This trail is for winter use only when snow covered.

Overview

The Worm Flows Climbing Route is the main route to the summit of Mount St. Helens during the winter and early spring. Along the way, you won't find a shortage of steep grades to tackle, but the views from the top and sense of accomplishment you'll glean are worth the effort.

Need to Know

While 40 percent of this route is in the trees, roughly 60 percent is in wide open terrain. As such, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and protective eyewear to block the reflection of the sun's harmful rays off the snowpack.

Description

Starting at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park parking lot, follow the Swift Ski Trail #244 north through dense forest to pass several junctions with other ski trails. Along the way, be sure to stay off the cross-country ski tracks as you make your way up moderate grades to reach the trail's end at a junction with the Loowit Trail. From here, follow the signs for the Worm Flows Climbing Route.

Once you are above treeline, the trail will follow some wooden posts along one of the lava flows. Eventually, the trail goes onto the rocks, where sometimes you'll see a very marked trail, but not always.

Depending on snowfall, the posts could very well be covered, so be sure to bring a GPS or the Hiking Project mobile app to help keep you on course and off the hazardous glaciers.

Upon reaching the caldera rim, head west to reach the highest point on the volcano and a suite of fantastic panoramic views.

History & Background

Mount St. Helens erupted in a violent plume of ash and volcanic mudslides on May 18, 1980. Since that time, mother nature has done much to restore the vibrant ecosystems once present on the mountain, however evidence of the destructive power of this volcano can still be viewed today.

Contacts

Shared By:

Napo GV

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 16 votes

#442

Overall
  4.9 from 16 votes
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4 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#37

in Washington

#442

Overall
57 Views Last Month
9,257 Since Jun 1, 2017
Difficult

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71%
24%

Photos

Rainier (left) and Adams (right) from the top of the St. Helens Caldera.
Dec 13, 2017 near Morton, WA
Summit of Mt St Helens, Washington
Jul 30, 2017 near Morton, WA
Hiking towards the summit will test your lungs and your mettle.
Jun 20, 2017 near Morton, WA
Crater of Mt. St. Helen's with Rainier in the distance
Jan 10, 2021 near Morton, WA
Lava Dome with steam vent in lower right center.
Jul 10, 2020 near Morton, WA
Summit of Mt St Helens
Jul 30, 2017 near Morton, WA

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Check-Ins

Jun 3, 2021
Traci Weishaar
Mar 16, 2021
Garrett S
Used snowshoes with crampons on ascent. On descent, removed snowshoes and glissaded. Weather clear and sunny. Clear views of Hood, Rainier, Adams. 10.3mi
Mar 9, 2021
Garrett S
Trail visible up to Worms Flow. Past that point, must trail find. Snow up to waist deep.
Nov 21, 2020
Jennifer Chuang
Done with snowshoes all the way to the top and lots of great glissading on the way down. — 12h 00m
May 25, 2020
Michael Young
ballz
May 29, 2019
Zach C
Beautiful hike! Used crampons for the final ascent. The snow was got little soft as the day warmed. — 6h 23m
May 5, 2019
Ryan W
Mar 1, 2019
Glen Felix