This morning I gave the kids the choice of staying home for a relaxing day and swimming in their kiddie pool or going for a hike. As soon as I said hike, they were running around in circles from excitement!
We drove up to Hummocks Trail on Mt St Helens. It’s a really easy trailhead to locate, especially when the Johnston Ridge Observatory is still closed for the season because the gate prevents you from accidentally driving past it. Don’t let this picture confuse you though, I took it at one of the many viewpoints on our way there, not at the trailhead.
The wildflowers are in bloom right now, but the rules are very strict when hiking around Mt. St Helens. You are not allowed to pick any flowers, or even go off of the trails. Because we have been hiking quite a bit, the kids are very good about following the rules of the trail and we didn’t have any issues.
The trail is a loop, which is my favorite kind to hike. We hiked the trail clockwise, and were rewarded with this stunning view of the mountain about 1 mile in.
We found signs of wildlife in the area… Jenna found a mountain of elk poop. I have never seen so much in one place before! There is a beaver dam along one section of the trail and there was evidence of trees being cut down by the beavers somewhat recently. The only wildlife we actually saw while hiking though were tadpoles, butterflies, caterpillars, and ants.
The trail is 2.5 miles long and there are a few hills, but overall it’s just a gentle up and down slope. There are sections that are a bit slippery for little feet going downhill due to loose ash and rocks, but forcing Connor to hold my hand in those spots stopped him from slipping and falling.
The trail is so varied as you walk through sunny open areas, then into wooded areas next to ponds and streams, then back out into the open again. There was a perfect mixture of sun and shade for our hike.
We hiked 2.5 miles today, and while it was just a bit shorter than our last hike, Connor had a rough time the last half mile. The heat really drained the energy out of him and there was a bit of a hill to climb towards the end, but he stuck with it. This seems to be the perfect distance for Jenna though and she hasn’t been struggling at all.
There was minimal bickering over who got to be the leader today, and we had so many new things to explore and discover on this trail. The kids declared it to be the “best hike ever” and while I’m convinced they say that about every hike, I think they were right this time.
**Also, as a side note: I did not notice any bathroom facilities at the trailhead, so you may want to stop at the Forest Learning Center on your way up the mountain. They have public restrooms and you can see the exhibits there for free (which we did on our way home). There is also an outdoor playground for the kids.