Mt. St. Helens Training Hikes

Tiger Mountain #3
Trailhead Elevation: ~520'
Summit Elevation: 2522'
Gain to Summit: 2002
Length: 5.2 miles
Slope: 770' per mile
Location: Issaquah

This is just a bit of a challenge for beginning hikers and can be taken at a fast pace or with weight for a great training hike. There are two trails to the top, one is the 2.6 mile one way trip on well established trail and the other is known as the powerline trail. The powerline trail leaves from just before the gate into the Forest and to the official Tiger trailhead.

Poo Poo Point
Trailhead Elevation: ~150'
Summit Elevation: 1825'
Gain to Summit: 1675
Length: 4 miles
Slope: 837' per mile
Location: Issaquah

Poo Poo point was named for the sound made by the short gauge railroad that was used to log the Tiger Mountain range. There are two popular trails to the summit, one from the parasail landing site and one from Issaquah High school, the stats above are from the landing site. At the summit you find the two parasail launch sites, one with a view of Mt Rainier to the south and the other (.3 mi up the trail) with a view to the north over Issaquah and Lake Samammish. This is a good training hill close to home, load up your pack and push to the top in 45 minutes!

Mount Si
Trailhead Elevation: ~650'
Plateau Elevation: ~3900'
Summit Elevation: 4167'
Gain to Plateau: ~3250'
Length: 8 miles
Slope: 812' per mile
Location: North Bend

Mount Si is a very popular trail for generally serious hikers in the Seattle area. The slope makes it a good middle-weight training hike for more extensive hiking or backpacking. Most people stop at the plateau as the ascent to the peak can be dangerous.

Rachel, Lila, & Rampart Lakes
Trailhead Elevation:
Summit Elevation:
Gain to Summit:
Length: ~10 miles
Location: Near Hayak, WA

The trail starts with a moderate grade for approximately one half mile then flattens as you continue to the back of the valley. Once at the back of the valley the elevation gain begins as you hike up the valley wall to Rachel Lake, 3.8 miles from the trail head. Once at Rachel lake, the trail continues steeply up 0.3 mile to the top of Rampart Ridge where your can travel another 0.5 mile south to Lila lake or 0.7 mile north to Rampart Lakes.

Shriner Peak
Trailhead Elevation: 2432'
Summit Elevation: 5834'
Gain to Summit: 3400'
Length: 9 miles
Slope: 755' per mile
Location: Mt Rainier

I'll add info once I hike this one...

McClellan Butte
Trailhead Elevation: ~1480'
Summit Elevation: 5162'
Gain to Summit: 3682'
Length: 9 miles
Slope: 818' per mile
Location: East of North Bend

This is definitely the slow and steady hike of the bunch. Longer than Mount Si and Mount St Helens but shallower it starts climbing right from the trail head. Four miles later you actually go down for about 100 feet to a very small lake and then climb again to the plateau of McClellan Butte.

Mailbox Peak
Trailhead Elevation: ~800'
Summit Elevation: 4841'
Gain to Summit: 4041'
Length: 5 miles
Slope: 1616' per mile
Location: East of North Bend

Do not underestimate this hike! I did! This is a tough climb up a poor trail to a fantastic view. I climbed it the first time on July 4th 2009 in 75+ degrees and hazy skies. Pushing my max rate I spent 2.5 hours up and 1.5 down. You should expect this to take 5 hours as I ran a good portion of the way down. The view of Si, McClellan, Rattlesnake, North Bend, Bellevue, Seattle, Ranier, and Baker was amazing. This is a great pay off for a difficult hike.

Granite Mountain
Trailhead Elevation: ~880'
Summit Elevation: 5629'
Gain to Summit: 4749'
Length: 8 miles
Slope: 1187' per mile
Location: East of North Bend

The goal of the Granite Mountain hike is to reach the old fire-lookout at the summit. This peak is higher than all the surrounding ones which makes it perfect for a lookout and a great challenge. Total distance and elevation gain are much like Mt St Helens though the trail takes 1 mile more to gain that elevation. For the first 1.3 miles the trail is a pretty standard 500' per mile. From there it is steep the rest of the way.

Camp Muir
Trailhead Elevation: 5450'
Summit Elevation: 10,050'
Gain to Summit: 4600'
Length: 9.2 miles
Slope: 1000' per mile
Location: Mt Rainier

I'll add info once I hike this one. Though this destination has a lower slope the elevation of the hike makes it much more difficult than Granite Mountian. Additionally, 75% of the route is on the Muir snowfield which does not require roping-up or crampons but does require a more experienced and disciplined hiker.

Mt. St. Helen's
Trailhead Elevation: ~3700'
Timberline Elevation: ~4800'
Summit Elevation: ~8200'
Gain to Summit: 4500'
Length: 10 miles
Length to Timberline: 2.1 miles
Slope to Timberline: 428' per mile
Slope Timberline to Summit: 1182' per mile

This is definitely not a hike. The first two miles are gentile and scenic as the trees thin and shrink and you start to catch glimpses of Monitor Ridge running along side. As you reach the tree line you are met with an almost baron mountain and an imposing rock slope that must be climbed to reach the spine of the ridge. From here the elevation gain is ~22% for the next 3 miles. The first couple miles are generally rock or hard packed ash. The last mile is noticeably steeper and eventually becomes lose ash, much like a sand dune. All said the view from the top and the sense of accomplishment is immense.

For online topographical maps visit

These are some of the best pieces of equipment I carry. I recommend you use them too.

YIS, Jeff