Helens Fest II - 26 thru 28 August 2011

Helens Fest II is fast approaching.  If you have any questions about the event please post them here and we'll get your questions answered!

Helens Fest is a three day weekend of advocacy and stewardship of a very unique riding area.  There is nothing like it anywhere in the 48 contiguous states.  The event is being held at the Marble Mountain Snow Park on Forest Road 83 in the Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument, Gifford Pinchot National Forest in south-west Washington.  We operate under a special use permit issued by the Monument Manager.

On Friday we will leave from Marble Mountain Snow Park for rides on trails including but not necessarily limited to: Ape Canyon, Smith Creek, Butte Camp, Toutle, Boundary, Craggy Peak, Wright Meadow Trails.  Most rides will be intermediate in skill level with at least one being in the gonzo category. 

Saturday, is the day of stewardship where we work on trails and projects alongside Forest Service managers and employees.  Projects include, but are not limited to, brushing out Ape Canyon trail, working on water damage on the Plains of Abraham, and brush removal and tread repair on the lower Smith Creek trail.  Please bring longfingered/work gloves, long sleeved shirts and long pants.  Bike helmets will work in lieu of hard hats.  Some work groups will ride to their work sites.

After the work party we will have a post ride meal sponsored in part by the Bike Gallery, Evergreen, and the Mount St Helens Institute.  We will also have some fun and games on Saturday evening - including a raffle for which we have several cool donated items.

On Sunday we will again leave from the Marble Mount Snow Park for farewell rides around the Monument.  Several rides will be offered twice, so if you missed doing a ride one day you can always plan on doing it on Sunday.

We will be camping at the Marble Mountain Snow Park and campers must be self sufficient.  There is NO water here.  This is a BYOB (bring your own beverage) event.  Marble Mountain has a 'two holer' and two large parking lots.  RV's are welcome. 

The Forest Service is conducting a campaign to eliminate the spread of weeds.  Please make sure that your bikes are clean and free of dirt that could harbor seeds of weed species.  Most of us clean our bikes after each ride, so this shouldn't be a problem.  But, please do check and clean your bike before riding in this very unique area. 

On our rides, at no time should anyone ride their bike off trail.  If you need to go over, under, or around an obstacle, get off your bike and walk it around, or over, or under the obstacle.  No cutting corners or taking shortcuts either.  Most of the area is a biological and geological study area and we want to keep our impact to a minimum.

The planning committee is getting excited about our event.  We hope you are too, and look forward to seeing all of you there.

beginner/advanced beginner rides for Helensfest

Will there be any beginner/advanced beginner rides at Helensfest? If so, what trails?  Some people want to bring non-hard core partners.

Beginner/Advanced Beginner Rides


due to a variety of reasons there are no leaders for beginner rides.  Sorry.

There are a variety of ski trails in the area which we can direct people to that can be ridden, including some trails behind the snow park.  Plus there are a few older logging roads in the area beginners can ride.

Please think twice about bringing a spouse who may not be comfortable alone outdoors.  People exploring the beautiful area need a sense of adventure, a willingness to rough it a bit, and know how to get around in the outdoors.

There is a women's only ride being offered on Sunday.  This ride is for women who have some basic skills in riding mtb's already.

(No subject)


There are trails in the area that are suitable for advanced beginner riders.  There are ski trails that are open to mtb use, and there is the Smith Creek trail which is really great for people who are better than beginners who want a little challenge.  Doing the Smith Creek trail as an out and back from the end of Road 8322 is a lot of fun and pretty easy with some challenges for someone who wants to work on their skills a bit.  Walk when needed, ride when you want.  The elevation gain/loss is not that great when starting from the bottom of the canyon.  Be adventerous.


lower Smith Creek

I just rode the lowest mile of Smith Creek today, and the lower mile of Lava Canyon Trail which connects Smith Creek to the end of Road 8322.  The lower Lava Canyon Trail has received some work, but the section of trail just south of the new bridge crossing the Muddy River is narrow and steep and purely a hike a bike section.  Likewise, the mile or so of the Smith Creek Trail just past the junction with Lava Canyon is rocky and very narrow in several sections.  A work party for Saturday is being set up to do some tread repair on this section of trail.  Beyond these spots the trail markedly improves however in condition.

Rides during Helens Fest II

The rides being offered for Helens Fest will include, but not necessarily limited to: Ape Canyon (out and back, ~ 15 miles, intermediate); Ape Canyon/Smith Creek Loop ( ~23 miles, intermediate+); lower Smith Creek (advanced beginners, ~6 miles and beginning itermediates, ~12 miles); Toutle & Butte Camp Trails (~11 miles, intermediate); Toutle/Sheep Canyon/Loowit/Butte Camp lollipop (~15 miles, challenging advanced intermediate); Lewis River (on Sunday, faster intermediate).  There could be other rides of varying abilities announced on ride days as well.

Helens Fest II coming soon!

It's just a few days away.  The weather forecast, for Portland, looks good.  80's on Friday and Sunday and 90 on Saturuday.  Bring plenty of fluids.  Remember Marble Mountain Snow Park has no running water.  This is a byob (beverage) event! 

Please bring a whistle that you can wear on the outside of your pack.  We ride in a very remote area where where there is no cell phone reception and conditions are at times very rough.  If you were in an accident and were off the trail, how would we locate you?  Please also bring a personal first aid kit.  We all should ride with one in our packs.

The wildflower display on the Plains of Abraham is at it's peak right now.  Bring your camera.

Ask your questions now!





Accidents sometimes happen.  Mountain biking can be a dangerous activity.  Caution should always be used on trails you are unfamiliar with.  Several trails have high penalty point spots where lack of attention can lead to quite serious situations.  Please be careful at all times and do not get sucked in to riding above your ability.  Get off and walk when you need to.  Slow down if you are uncomfortable with the trail conditions.

Picture yourself on the upper Smith Creek trail and you have an accident.  You could be up there for quite some time before any help got to you.  Quite some time could be measured in hours.  If your accident were serious enough you might even have to be life flighted out.  Are you prepared to pay that bill?  Be safe.

There is an emergency call box at Ape Cave which connects to 911.  Know that location and keep the addresses and phone numbers below with you in the event that your or a companion suffers an accident. 

Skamania County Sheriff – 911
North Country EMS – 911

Urgent Care Woodland,
1251 Lewis River Rd
Woodland, WA 98674
(360) 226-4310;
Southwest Washington Medical Center,

400 N.E. Mother Joseph Place
Vancouver, WA 98664
(360) 256.2000;
Mountain View Medical Urgent Care,
101 NW 12th Avenue, Ste 107
Battle Ground, WA 98604
(360) 666-8418;
Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center,

2211 NE 139th Street
Vancouver, WA 98686
(360) 487.1000

Carpool: leave Thurs, return Sun

Hi, I have room for three more passengers in the van with gear and bikes. Text me 503.ninefiveseven.6419.

I'm departing SE Portland after work on thursday, returning after the rides on Sun.

Really looking forward to it.   --DanS--

Friday ride times?

When are the rides leaving on Friday?  Wondering if I can make it out Thurs eve, or if I'll leave early Friday morn.

Ride Times

On Friday morning please be there no later than 08:00 in the morning.  We are going to get people ready for rides by then and out of the parking lot by 08:30.  Arriving Thursday evening is good!


I know it's a bit late, but I would be good if people included their actual name and e-mail address in their profiles so we could contact you all by e-mail with updates.  Please update your profiles for future e-mails.  Thanks

ID info

That would really be great.

YOu can do this by going to nw-trail.org and signing in to your account.

Then My Account (right bar) -> Edit -> your info.

If you like, you can change your User Name under Edit -> account

Pictures 2011!

Pictures 2011!

Pictures 2011!

Fun event!

What a great event! The trail work was rewarding, and it was also really nice to ride with such a great group of people. I'm a relatively unskilled rider, and appreciate the opportunity to see some new trails with the help of more experienced riders. 

Thanks to everyone who helped organize!

Thanks also to everyone who participated. It was nice meeting you. If any of the Portland crew want to go on some local rides, feel free to hit me up!