Whittier Ridge Loop
Aug 16, 2015
Aug 17, 2015
The activities depicted on this site are inherently dangerous and can result in serious injury or death. Any action that you take as a result of information obtained from this site or any information provided through Hike2Hike is at your own risk.
Aug 16, 2015

Although we used this trail to access another, I will describe the parts of the Lakes trail that we used. Hopefully one day I can return to this area and experience the whole loop.

Starting at the Norway Pass trailhead you climb slowly up the side of a large hill toward the pass. The views along the first part of the trail were fairly spectacular despite the heavy gray cloud cover. It is especially interesting to look at the many fallen trees around as you climb and the ones littering Spirit lake.

first view from the whittier ridge route
first view
waterboy along norway pass trail
waterboy norway pass trail
lake along norway pass trail mount saint helens
lake along route

After the pass the trail climbs once more as it approaches Bear Pass, which is nowhere near as spectacular as Norway Pass. However, that could have been the clouds. From here the trail levels out a little bit passing Grizzly and Obscurity lakes. Grizzly is the better of the two but has no campsites and Obscurity really wasn’t all that nice. Past these two lakes the trail climbs once again as it heads toward Panhandle lake.

grizzly lake norway pass trail near whittier ridge
grizzly lake
panhandle lake whittier ridge loop norway pass
panhandle lake
panhandle lake camp site mount saint helens
panhandle lake camp site

Panhandle was the nicest of the three on the first day by far. It is huge and sits in a nice bowl between two mountains making for some great photo opportunities. We were ecstatic at the campsite we got and I was happy my partner had picked these permits.

After settling down for a meal and watching the sun sink behind the mountains the stars came out in force mixed in with the thick band of the Milky Way.

panhandle lake camp site whittier ridge loop
passing time at panhandle lake
small frogs from panhandle lake
small frogs swimming in the lake
elk grazing near camp at panhandle lake
elk grazing above camp
Aug 17, 2015

The second day was an easy walk uphill from Panhandle lake camps. We quickly reached the shovel lake turn off and after no time at all we were at the Whittier ridge cut off.

This part of the Lakes trail also has its exceptional views of Mt. Adams, which was slightly covered in forest fire smoke.Shovel lake was big and made the Whittier ridge behind it seem painted. The lake looked like it would make for some excellent camping and would have been my second choice to Panhandle lake. It does not have as much shelter and the shape of the bowl makes the sun disappear quickly

We saw snow lake from the climb up the ridge and it looked unimpressive at best. However, due to taking the difficult Whittier ridge scramble route, I know very little about the rest of the possible loop this trail can make

whittier ridge trail warning sign
whittier ridge trail sign
whittier ridge outcropping
scramble section
mount rainier from whittier ridge
mount rainier from whittier ridge
spirit lake mount saint helens
spirit lake mount saint helens
mount adams shrouded in smoke from whittier ridge
mount adams from whittier ridge
waterboy along whittier ridge trail
waterboy whittier ridge
brandon on whittier ridge
brandon on the ridge trail
spirit lake from mount margaret
spirit lake from mount margaret

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