Trail Run Project Logo

Monitor Ridge Climbing Route

Very Difficult


2.5 mile 4.0 kilometer point to point
41% Runnable
Very Difficult


Ascent: 3,580' 1,091 m
Descent: -21' -6 m
High: 8,278' 2,523 m
Low: 4,719' 1,438 m


Avg Grade: 28% (15°)
Max Grade: 78% (38°)


No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Chris Flashhard

This is a summertime out-and-back route to Mount St. Helens' crater rim. Permit required.

Chris Flashhard

Features Views

All runners must have a permit above Loowit #216: Ptarmigan - June Lake.


This is the primary running route for accessing the South Rim of Mount St. Helens. To do this run you must have a permit, and those run out fast. We started this run at 1:00am and completed it in 4 hours – yes it's that tough. So, what do you get for this hard work? An absolutely amazing view of the crater, dome, and surrounding area. I hear on a clear day you can see Rainier, Adams, Hood, and Portland as well.

In the first 2(ish) miles, you'll steadily gain about 1000 ft through a lovely pine forest. The next 2(ish) miles are tough going, navigating a boulder field while climbing another 2500 ft.

The last mile(ish) is best described as a slog up another 1000 ft on loose dirt, ash, and pumice.

Coming up at night and down in the relatively cool early morning, you'll easily burn through two quarts of water, and wish for a third. Any summer ascent up here should be made with a gallon per person, and from how fast it got warm at 8am, it must be roasting by afternoon.

Be realistic about your fitness – even at a slow pace, this is an extremely challenging run.

Other than heaps of water, I recommend leather or garden gloves to save your hands through the boulder field, as these volcanic boulders can be very sharp! Hiking poles looked like they were helpful, though I didn't have any.

Gaiters are a necessity on this route to prevent volcanic debris from entering your shoes and shredding your feet.

Warm gear is a must for hanging out at the top if you arrive pre-sunrise and need to wait a bit; no matter what time of year, the wind up here is always cold...

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes


Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In



Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes


  4.0 from 2 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Washington


23 Views Last Month
1,628 Since Aug 15, 2017
Very Difficult



Summit of Mt St Helens, Washington
Jul 30, 2017 near Morton, WA
Rainier (left) and Adams (right) from the top of the St. Helens Caldera.
Dec 13, 2017 near Morton, WA
Summit of Mt St Helens
Jul 30, 2017 near Morton, WA
Looking north. On a clear day Mt. Rainier
Aug 8, 2017 near Morton, WA