I fell into a burning ring of fire... Well not the Johnny Cash song, but Washington volcanoes of Summer 2020! Although, I have to admit, I did listen to the famously annoying Johnny Cash song (multiple times) while writing this blog post!
With winter settling in here in Seattle (cue the rain and gloom stereotype) I've been thinking back on summer hiking season. Turns out this summer I hiked on or very near four out of five major volcanoes in Washington - Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Baker. On many other occasions I caught views of Mount Rainier and Mount Baker while taking a ferry, visiting a Puget Sound island, or just driving around the Seattle area. The fifth Washington volcano that escaped me was Mount Adams (yep, see ya in 2021).
All five volcanoes are a part of the Cascade Range, a 1,200 mile line of volcanoes running from British Columbia, Canada through WA, OR, and northern CA as part of the larger Pacific Ocean volcanic Ring of Fire. If you had asked me 1.5 years ago about volcanoes, I couldn't have imagined visiting one, much less hiking or standing on top of one. One of the many amazing things that my eyes have been opened to since moving to Washington. Over the past 1.5 years now I have enjoyed catching glimpses of the different volcanoes, learning about them, and hiking on/around them. The allure and beauty doesn't seem to get old...I mean it's a volcano! Here are my favorite views of each volcano, as I saw them during my summer 2020 adventures.
I backpacked in the Glacier Peak Wilderness on two different occasions this past summer. The first was on two night trip on the southern side of the mountain. Then later in the summer, a 3 night trip to the eastern side of the mountain. I think of Glacier Peak as the most remote of the five major volcanoes in Washington. Meaning there are no roads offering tourist viewpoints, you really have to hike many miles to get out there. But once you do, there are great, wide-open views of the volcano everywhere you turn! Read my detailed trip reports at: Cady Ridge and Spider Gap-Buck Creek Pass.
First, to read about all my love for Mount Rainer, check out my other blog post Is the Mountain Out? linked here. In August, I planned and completed a fun loop hike out of the Sunrise base in Mount Rainier National Park. Check out my Mount Rainier Loop trip report for full details and pictures of that day hike. On any clear day, Mount Rainier is one of the most visible landmarks on the Seattle skyline. So I also caught glimpses of the mountain many other times while out hiking, on ferry rides, or exploring Puget Sound islands.
Mount St. Helens
Mount St. Helens famously erupted in 1980 (celebrating its 40th anniversary this year) and the mountain literally blew its top of! As a result, Mount St. Helens is clearly missing its "cone top" and is left with an exposed crater and lava dome. I summited Mount St. Helen's in September, and it was an amazing experience to sit on the top of an active volcano (although clouds obscured a of the view. Check out my Mount St. Helens trip report for full details and pictures of that day hike.
Mount Baker can be seen on the horizon in many places in northwest Washington - from the highway on a clear day, the ferry, Mount Constitution on Orcas Island, Artists' Point, and from any number of hikes in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. See a sampling of those locations below and check out my Heliotrope Ridge trip report for full details and pictures of that day hike up to the Coleman Glacier on Mount Baker.