Trip Report: Johntson Ridge Observatory Boundary Trail
Location: Johnston Ridge Observatory, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Conditions: Cloudy, but temperate and beautiful
Duration: 3.5 hours
Usefull links: outdoorproject.com
The boundary trail is an awesome hike that starts at the Johnson Ridge Observatory. It is near Mount St. Helens and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This hike offers stunning views and a wonderful array of wildflowers and wildlife. I enjoyed the hike because the trail was very well maintained and easy to follow. It also wasn't very strenuous, so I was happy to bring friends along. There is a big map at the entrance, and I suggest taking a picture so you can follow along to where you are on the map.
The trail leaves the visitor center and you first walk through the interpretative area. Here you can learn about the history of the area as well at Mount St. Helens. On a clear day, I hear there are stunning views of the mountain right there. You can also see the small alpine lake below. The trail takes you on Johnsons Ridge for a there-and-back hike of about 4.6 miles. The wonderful landscape is surprisingly sandy and has dispersed vegetation and beautiful flowers. It is very different from the typical dense green wet forests we are used to in the PNW. I would highly recommend this hike to anyone. It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, give it a try!