9 miles of hiking • 1750' elevation gain •
Great day, Nice clear air surprisingly. Smokey east of the Cascades. We didn't do the whole loop having heard from backpackers, who heard from someone else that the South Fork Toutle trail was washed out. We later ran into hikers who had done the loop and said that there was a easily managed rockslide, passable by even the unadventurous. Still we were happy with our choice since we had more then to explore some nearby overlooks and up some of the washout canyons. Beautiful forest with some awesome snags and and a bit of old growth here and there. Blue lake is a worthy destination on its own and Helens was magnificent although the photos really don't capture it. The ground was still damp and cool from the rains and it was totally fabulous in every way.