Sharing the Mt. St. Helens’ Blast Zone

On a hot, sunny mid-July hike to the Plains of Abraham on the east side of Mt. St. Helens’ blast zone, I unexpectedly had lots of company.

I knew that there would be other hikers and many mountain bicyclists as the day wore on, but little did I know there would be a trail-runners’ competition.

It turned out the Bigfoot 100k/45-mile Ultra Trail Runners Race was being held on the same day. They were running around the mountain on the Loowit Trail. My outing took me on the Loowit Trail for about three miles into the blast zone before turning around and returning to the Ape Canyon Trailhead.

I stepped off the trail many times to let them, and many mountain bicyclists, pass.

This makes the second trail-runners race this year I have been caught in. The first was the 50k Tillamook Burn Race in May in the Coastal Mountains.

Trail runners on the Plains of Abraham (Mt. Adams in background)

Hikers heading down the Ape Canyon Trail

Mountain bicyclist passed by a trail runner

Trail runner on the Plains of Abraham (Mt. Rainier in distance)

Trail runners on the Plains of Abraham (classic Mt. St. Helen’s blast zone environment)

Mountain bicyclists on the rim of Ape Canyon (Mt. Adams in background)

Trail runners on the Plains of Abraham




Categories: Bucket List of Apine Hikes, Washington Cascades HikesTags: , ,


  1. Both of the trail runs you end up in are on pretty narrow trails, John. I can imagine it’s not really what you set out for. But what views on this one. I appreciate you pointing out the mountains in the background, it is only Mt. Rainier that I can ever recognize (I love Mt. Rainier). Trail runners and hikers have certainly made good use of this barren volcano. Enjoyable post.

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