Several Hikes and Walks in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Visiting Mount Saint Helens NVM

Mount Saint Helens NVM  is among Washington’s top 10 attractions. It had been on our to-do list for a while. When we left Eatonville, the sun was shining. It was raining two hours later at Mount Saint Helens Visitor Center near Castle Rock, WA. The park rangers ensured us that some trails were still worth walking or hiking because of the abundance of Spring flowers or wildlife, even on rainy days.

The Silver Lake Haven Trail

On our first walk, we followed the Silver Lake Haven Trail near the visitor center to experience “”the wonders of a wet world.” The Silver Lake Wetland Trail Loop guided us through Silver Lakes’s green marsh wetland. The history of this lake is quite intriguing. Mount St. Helens erupted about 2.500 years ago. The eruption, the landslide that followed, and the mud floods over the years dammed the river and ultimately created Silver Lake. Today, it is a thriving ecosystem and one of the world’s richest habitats.

The Hammocks Trail

On May 18, 1980, a similar catastrophic event happened. A 5.1 magnitude earthquake caused the largest recorded landslide on the volcano’s north flank. The following pyroclastic flows speeded down Toutle River Valley, destroying everything in their path. The mountain lost 400 meters from the top. The debris buried forests, destroyed wildlife, dammed creeks, and formed new lakes. A dead, gray landscape with mountain rocks, called hammocks, was created.
Thankfully, the weather had improved when we started to hike the Hammocks Trail. We even got a glimpse of the volcano and its north flank. We saw Mother Nature’s resilience at work. In only 43 years, this barren land became a flourishing landscape with various flowers, plants, flowers, and green trees covering the hammocks. Chewed trees show that beavers like this new area as well.

The Birth of a Lake Trail

We concluded our visit with a short boardwalk at Coldwater Lake. The Birth of a Lake Trail showed another part where nature thrives only decades after a disaster. This time with a little help from people’s bulldozers and dynamite. A channel regulating the new lake’s water level was created to prevent future floods and consequently protect towns downstream.

Mesmerizing And Treacherous

On one of the interpretive signs, I read, “Mount St. Helens is a dynamite keg, and the fuse is lit, but we don’t know how long the fuse is.” This quote from David A. Johnston, an American United States Geological Survey (USGS) volcanologist, was dated March 28, 1980. Within two months, he was one of the fifty-seven people killed by the Mount St. Helens violent and apparently unexpected eruption. 

Mount St. Helens is certainly mesmerizing and treacherous simultaneously. It was and is still a dangerous volcano.


Saturday, June 17, 2023


4.69 miles

Moving Time

A Few Hours


61°F, clouds, light breeze