Type of HikeDay hike
Trail ConditionsObstacles on trail:
Overgrown in places.
I started this trip at the Norway Pass trailhead. The Boundary Trail is in great shape and climbs gradually until fabulous views of Mt St Helens and Spirit Lake are visible below. I continued past Bear Pass and the turnoff to TR 211 towards Mt Margaret. When you reach the campground, be sure to take a left where there is a naked signpost (no sign), don’t go past the toilet or you’ll be wandering around in the campground looking for the trail. There were a couple snow patches to cross but easily done with sun cups giving good footholds. I passed the intersection with the Mt Whittier trail in a saddle then climbed for another ½ mile around the south side of Mt Margaret before taking the short trail to the top. Rainier and Adams were both visible as well as a stunning view of Mt St Helens and over to St. Helens lake. I was up for an adventure so went back to the saddle and took the Mt Whittier trail #214. This trail follows the jagged ridgeline high above 2 deep basins. I used my hands a lot, as there was some scrambling and scary exposure. I was glad to see Shovel Lake as then I knew I was getting close to the end of the trail, and didn’t want to turn back to have to go down what I had scrambled up which seemed like a sketchy option. I wouldn’t recommend this trail to anyone with an overnight backpack, the trail won’t even fit it in some places. Shovel Lake is lovely and has lots of camping area on the south side. The climb out was hot however. I followed the #211 trail along the ridge, back towards the other backcountry lakes. The trail is overgrown in sections as it drops into to Panhandle Lake. The trail is more travelled over a small ridge to Obscurity lake, which had a campground. Then I started the long climb up to bear pass. This part of the trail was also overgrown, and was skinny with some mild exposure in places, but good footing so just don't fall. The last mile or so seemed to have been brushed this year. I was happy to reach Bear Pass, have the views of Mt St Helens again, and a nice wide trail back down to the car. Just a side note that trail 227 is closed due to a washout. I think you might still be able to get to Independence Pass via 227a, which is an unmarked trail leaving the boundary trail about a mile up.