Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Trip Reports Mount St. Helens - Monitor Ridge

Trip Report

Mount St. Helens - Monitor Ridge

South Cascades

Trip Report By

Hiked Sep 23, 2019

Type of Hike

Day hike

Trail Conditions

Trail in good condition


Road suitable for all vehicles


No bugs


Snow free

This was our family goal to do summit hike as family along with my kid (10 year old). This was our first volcano summit climb. We have been preparing for this day from last 6 months.  We intended to start at 5.00 am in morning but got delayed as we could not sleep at night while doing car camping. We started the hike at 6.10 am. The 2.1 miles of Ptarmigan trail was easy but 2500 feet elevation of boulder field was a killer one.  We often get lost on boulder field as we were not sure if we were on official trail. Thanks to the wooden post, we kept on looking for the poles and followed along.  While in boulder field, Rangers were climbing to the summit. They checked our permits and move ahead.  When we reached gps station just before ash field, it got super windy and cold. Last 1 mile climb to summit in ash field was very pain. Wind gust were strong to push us back.  Saw 1-2 hikers turning back because of wind gust. But we were determined to make it to summit. Hiking poles were lot of help in climbing ahead against the wind gust. We spend 30 minutes on summit enjoying the beautiful view of crater dome, mount hood, mount adam and little glimpse of mount rainier. But soon the clouds rolled in at Summit with no views of crater dome. We started descending as rain showers started.  Getting down was tough on knees and legs but hiking poles were of great use. We are proud of our son who manage to climb all the way up to the summit carrying his backpack without any complains. We prepared him and ourself to carry weighted backpack for such hikes.  The mountain is the beauty with beast mode on. We were carrying our microspikes in backpack due to previous week snow fall reports. This made our backpack's heavy. But all efforts, challenges are well worth the reward of beautiful and magnificent view on summit. We are looking to come back next year and continue the tradition of family hiking.


katiewith on Mount St. Helens - Monitor Ridge

Amazing. Really inspired by this report. My husband and I have summited from this route. Our 10 year old is awesome and really strong on trails, but we were thinking she should be 14 or so before we take her up there, but reading this makes me want to recalculate. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by:

katiewith on Oct 14, 2019 02:24 PM