Sam Hooke

Hummocks Trail

We arrived at 2:40pm on a Saturday, and there were only a dozen cars in the parking lot, with spaces for a few dozen more. There are no facilities at the trailhead, but the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center and Johnston Ridge Observatory are both just a short drive away.

We hiked clockwise around the Hummocks Trail loop. (As an aside, confusingly there is another WTA hike named Hummocks Loop, but as far as I can tell, it’s actually the same as Boundary West, which forks off the Hummocks Trail at the Boundary Trail sign part way around the loop).

At the Boundary Trail trailhead, we forked off briefly to explore the Boundary Trail for about half a mile, then turned around and rejoined the Hummocks Trail to complete the loop. This added a bit more length to an otherwise quite short hike, and the Boundary Trail was much quieter than the Hummocks Trail.

Upon rejoining the Hummocks Trail (at the Boundary Trail trailhead), my wife spotted a bright butterfly and took some photos of it. Having since got home and looked it up, it appears to be a Taylor’s Checkerspot, which according to the WDFW is an endangered species! As requested, we have submitted a report using this form.

I am hoping to get confirmation that this butterfly is indeed a Taylor’s Checkerspot from someone with more experience. As far as I can tell, while they are native to Washington and Oregon, they have not been seen before within Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. For example, see the observation reports here (click the “slippy map” tab). Please keep an eye out on your visit to see if we can get another observation.

Following the rest of the trail, the wildflowers are in full bloom. The Alder Woods are quiet and serene, billowing with fern. The bridge, which had seemingly been broken, is in full working order. A few bugs were hanging about, and I got a few bites. Fortunately there was plenty of other more enjoyable wildlife around, with many chipmunks, geese, and even evidence of coyotes left along the trail.