Thursday, Oct 5, 2023

Out Trails: LGBTQ+ Running Retreat


Mount St. Helens, WA October 6-9, October 4-8, October 5-8

This Event Took Place Thu. Oct 5, 2023

LGBTQ+ Running Celebration

To run is to experience and express freedom, curiosity, and joy in the outdoors. On trails, we liberate our hearts, our minds and become part of a tribe of humans who find connection by moving their bodies in wild spaces. Runners come from all backgrounds and many of us are gay! This fall, Aspire is proud to partner with newly organized running affinity group, Out Trails to host a first-of-its-kind affinity trip exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community.

About Out Trails

Out Trails is a community of LGBTQ+ and ally trail runners & hikers, celebrating and promoting diversity on the trails. We believe outdoor spaces are for everyone to find community and to enjoy. Out Trails hopes to build upon and accelerate the existing, and already amazing, outdoor running communities. Our programming, group runs, and trips aim to create safe, welcoming spaces for athletes of all identities and abilities.


The Out Trails LBGTQ+ Running Retreat – Mount St. Helens is an opportunity for LGBTQ+ runners to celebrate their community and delve deep into an incredible landscape. The famed Loowit trail circumnavigates Mount St. Helens, crossing the “blast zone” and the moonscape left behind from the largest landslide in recorded human history. Similar trails weave through the surrounding ridgelines around Mt. Margaret and offer up scenes of lush forests and pristine alpine lakes. Staged from Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center, 30 runners gather for 3 evenings of delicious meals, community, and celebration and 2 full days of trails, dirt, sky, and some of the most remarkable trails on the planet.

Runners and Hikers Welcome

Out Trails LGBTQ+ Running Retreat – Mt. St. Helens welcomes runners of all paces. Each day we’ll have a selection of run distances and paces. Join the group that feels good to you, or travel at your own speed.

Leisure Pace: For the hikers and run-curious, this group will walk the ups and most of the downs, enjoying the company of the group as they take in the views.
Steady Pace: For runners who love to soak in the views at a moderate pace, while generally running downhills and flats.
Motivated Pace: For runners who want to see as much of the zone as possible, and are comfortable with higher speeds and mileage.
There’s no wrong way to enjoy the mountains, and the combined Aspire and Out Trails crew are there to support each pace group.

Weekend Overview

Thursday, Day 1
Meet at the Mt. St. Helens Science and Learning Center
Runners are welcome to arrive anytime after 5pm. We’ll have cold drinks and plates of fresh appetizers served alongside libations to set the tone for the weekend. Dinner will be at 6pm followed by a trip overview and stoke building for the running that lies ahead.

Friday, Day 2
Run the Mount Margaret Backcountry
After a hot predawn breakfast, runners will be transported to the Johnston Ridge Overlook. Departure times will set runners up to catch the sunrise from Harry’s Ridge, with views of Coldwater and Spirit Lake below and Mt. St. Helens dominating the southern horizon. From Coldwater Peak, our distance groups divide. Those running further head over Mt. Margaret and a chain of ridgelines and alpine lakes. The short distance runners descend then climb up and over Blastzone Butte to drop onto the shores of Coldwater Lake. Both routes finish at the St. Helens Science and Learning Center basecamp. Dinner, drinks, and celebrations are a guarantee.
Saturday, Day 3
Run the Loowit Trail
Runners have 3 distance options for the day, each requiring an early start and offering access to the Loowit Trail. A 17 mile option takes runners over Windy Pass, offering not-so-distant views of Mt. Adams and a close encounter with the East Face of Helens. The 24 mile option traverses the full blast zone, and circles the West Face of Helens. Both of these groups converge at June Lake and can expect a fully stocked lakeside aid station and a shuttle from the nearby trailhead back to basecamp. The 40 mile runners begin their day with everyone at Johnston Point, but make the full circumnavigation of the mountain traveling in a counterclockwise direction and finishing the “lolli-pop” back at their start. An Aspire shuttle will connect the start/finish with basecamp and libations/celebrations.
Sunday, Day 4
Breakfast and Goodbyes
Runners will wake up for a final breakfast, weekend reflection, and say their goodbyes. All activities will wrap by 10:00am.

About Aspire

Aspire organizes single and multi-day running adventures in backcountry and wilderness terrain. We pair logistical and emergency support with delicious meals for a unique and memorable running experience. More info about our project is available at:

Event's current local time: 11:30 AM PT

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