The Loowit Trail Circumnavigates Mt. St. Helens in Washington state. It gets it’s name from the Native Americans name for the mountain “Loowit”.
You can start this hike from a dozen different locations, but the most popular are on the south side. Most people start at June Lake (the official starting place for the Volcano 50k). I chose to start at the climbers bivouac for some odd reason.
I left from the Climbers Bivouac on May 30 at 0700 and went clockwise around the mountain. This proved to be a bad starting point because I ended up finishing the run with what felt like a big climb from June lake to the bivouac trailhead (it was only 800 ft.).
I chose to go clockwise and would recommend it because you get the lava rock scrambling/navigating out of the way with fresh legs and mind. Also, you’ll cross the south Toutle River early in the run, which is probably one of the bigger climbs
Here is a quick summary of the run:
June lake to Butte Camp – Steep hill climb through woods then all scrambling over lava rock. Trail is marked with wooden posts. I still managed to get lost for a bit here.
Butte camp to sheep canyon – some nice forest trails and open fields. I saw an elk here. One of the nicer areas to spread out the legs.
South Toutle River Crossing – Probably the biggest valley crossing
Pumice Plain – nice flat fields
North Toutle River – A rocky and sandy run crossing with some water. Usually this is difficult because of all the water runoff, but I ran during a drought and had no problem crossing these streams. Note: There is no camping allowed in this area.
Windy Pass – The second major climb, this one was the most enjoyable due to the view.
Plains of Abraham
To June lake – A bunch of shitty mud river crossings and some scrambling again before getting to the nice wooded trail run finish
Stats and logistics:
I got lost twice and tacked on a few hundred meters, total milage was 31.76 miles.
Climb: 8,000 ft.
I wore my Salomon hydration vest with a full bladder and 2 bottles of water (3L of water total). For food I carried a small bag of trail mix which I barely touched. I pretty much “fasted” on this run.
This is a great beginner long distance trail run. You can’t get terribly lost because of the huge reference point, but if you do get hurt you are pretty far from help. Take is slow and enjoy the scenery.
To finish off the day I jumped in Yale