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Mount St. Helens Summit via Worm Flows

Cougar, Washington

based on 6 reviews



10.53 miles

Elevation Gain

5725 ft

Route Type



Added by Greg Balkin

Take in incredible views of Rainier, Hood, and Adams from this 8,364-foot summit of Mt. St. Helens. There is no technical climbing on the entire Worm Flow route.

The Worm Flow Route, starting at Marble Mountain Sno Park, is the most direct winter route up to the summit. You'll start at around 2,700 feet and begin a steady walk along the trail for 2 miles. Although the trail is fairly well marked well above the snow, you'll want to pay attention to the arrows (especially if departing in early dawn).

Once you've cleared the forest, the trail is a bit more difficult to follow. The landscape is now a mixture of rock and lava flow, but there will be wooden posts and cairns along the way. After another mile or so, the grade will begin to pick up as you walk along a rocky spine until you're surrounded by snow. Proper footing can get a bit tricky, so be careful as you navigate through this mixture of rock, snow, and mud.

From here on out, the trail is well marked by plenty of previous hikers making their way up the summit. There are a few steep sections, so take your time on the way up. It seems like a never-ending climb at times, but keep pushing until you reach the first view of the crater. Once you've reached the false summit, head west a short distance to the true summit and enjoy the awesome views from up there. Be careful not to get too close to the edge once you're up since the snowpack may be unstable along the cornices.

As you make your way down, it may be a good idea for crampons and an ice axe. When the slopes get steep, I highly recommend glissading (as long as you're in control). Continue following your trail back down the mountain until you reach the car park a few hours later.

Mt. St. Helens climbing permit via Rec.Gov


  • Waterproof boots
  • Gators
  • Crampons
  • Ice Axe
  • Trekking Poles
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Headlamp
  • Skis + Boots (Optional)
  • Warm layers for summit + breaks
  • Plenty of water + snacks
  • Change of clothes in the car
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Rock Climbing

Mount St. Helens Summit via Worm Flows Reviews

Hiked on June10th. Started at 3:00AM and encountered the first snow around 1-1.5miles up the trail. More conditions shown in this video: https://youtu.be/nV-ZixLx-mw The snow was consistent all the way to the rim although the rocks on the ridge are snow free. Take caution the cornice on the rim is still present and very dangerous. My group traversed counterclockwise around the rim till we found a edge with no cornice. Made a video of the hike you can find it here: https://youtu.be/nV-ZixLx-mw

Absolutely wonderful views and a nice taste of altitude

This is one of the best mountains for more novice ski mountaineers. Straight forward route with wide open runs almost all the way down. One of the best days I've had skiing in the mountains.

Mount St. Helens may not be the biggest peak or the most exciting climbing but between the crater rim and the view out to Rainier & Adams, the summit is by far one of my favorites. Similarly, the winter ascent is definitely a long slog but snow beats ash and calm beats crowds (free also beats paying for a permit if you climb before 4/1!). Totally recommend it.

Did this in June and was still able to glissade down!

Beautiful hike, especially in the winter. And adds to the fun when you slide/board/ski down after summiting.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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