Mount Margaret Backcountry

cover photo
Aug 08, 2015 - Aug 09, 2015

Scenic Mount Margaret Backcountry excursion (with Nate Vaughn.)

Secured permits to a night in the popular Mt Margaret Backcountry during the summer. Plan was to complete a loop around Spirit Lake north of Mt St Helens. Unfortunately I misjudged the distance and it became more of an out-and-back trip.

Got started at a reasonable hour with some cloud cover to beat the summer heat. From the St Helens visitor center, we made good time into the wilderness area and climbed into the upper elevations. Epic views and rugged scenery all the way to a steep ridge (Whittier Ridge?) leading to our designated campsite. After a side-trip to secure some water in a hidden spring (Bear Camp?) , we set out to the traverse the ridge. It quickly became clear that this would be a Class 2+ / 3 traverse and neither of us were prepared to find out how far we could go along sheer 500ft falls on both sides. Without rope and climbing equipment, this route is for those with huevos of steel only! Backtracking, we had to make the same dangerous treck back then had to share a campsite with some friendly anglers. Fortunately there was plenty of room for 2 groups, and we ended up with a great site with northern views of Rainier.

Sunrise views of Rainier and St Helens. Clear sunny day on the hike back - ran low on water towards the end but made it back fairly early.

Definitely would like to return to complete the loop & visit the lakes along the Lakes Trail and even attempt the death ridge.

DifficultyClass 2+
Distance~25 miles
Highest ElevationMount Margaret (5780 ft)
JurisdictionGifford Pinchot National Forest
MapGreen Trails