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Mount Margaret Backcountry, WA

part ofGifford Pinchot National Forest, US Forest Service
Photo: Mount Margaret Backcountry

Overview

Sapphire lakes, pinnacle-studded ridges and flowered mountain slopes – this is the Mount Margaret Backcountry. Part of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, this rugged and spectacular area offers hikers an opportunity to explore and discover the dramatic effects of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The lateral blast, a hot stone-filled wind, shattered trees and swirled around peaks and basins as it toppled thousands of acres of pristine forest.

Know Before You Go
Trails in the Mount Margaret Backcountry have narrow tread, are steep in places and can climb over 2,000 feet in elevation. Some trails are very challenging. The Whittier Trail #214, in particular, is very narrow and crosses steep cliffs; it is not suitable for hikers that are uncomfortable with heights. Portions of trails are often covered by snow until mid-summer. Be prepared to cross snow-covered slopes if you plan an early season visit.

Eight backcountry camps can accommodate tent campers. Camping is limited to designated campsites. The maximum group size for camping is four. To protect natural features, pets and pack stock are prohibited in the Mount Margaret Backcountry. Fires are not allowed; plan to use a camp stove for cooking. Each campsite has a level, wood-framed, earth-filled tent pad as well as a grey water sump for waste water from washing and cooking. Solar composting toilets are also provided. Please use these facilities to help protect vegetation, water quality and other natural features. Water from any source should be treated before drinking.

All campers in the Mount Margaret Backcountry must display their permit on their tent while occupying a campsite. A valid recreation pass is required when using the Norway Pass Trailhead. Visit the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument website for current conditions: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mountsthelens/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5288434.

Click here for more information on fees and policies in the Mount Margaret Backcountry.

Contact Information

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
42218 NE Yale Bridge Road
Amboy, WA 98601
(360) 449-7800
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