St. Helens - Ape Canyon / Plains of Abe

Anyone know the status of a work party clearing the Ape Canyon trail this year?

Thanks, Pete.

Ape Canyon Work Party

I have a meeting tomorrow with the Mount St Helens NVM staff regarding our trail work parties.  I hope to have an answer for you posted on Friday.

I know the Mount Bike Mutts/Longview have one scheduled for later in July.  I'll post details on that work party later on.

Thanks for your interest!

David Anderson

Ape Canyon Work Party

Thanks David!  Sure appreciate the quick reply.  Do you know the trail status currently?   Blowdowns?, Snow?, etc.

Regards, Pete.


Ape Canyon Trail


There's still about 18" snow on the road at the Marble Mountain Snow Park - five miles from the ACT trailhead parking lot.  The Forest Service just opened the gate at the Marble Mountain Snow park hoping that some bigger pick-ups would drive over the snow and help break it up a bit - speeding up the melt.  I would give Ape Canyon another week - since weather forecast calls for us to have temps in the 80's, maybe just a week will do it!  I didn't feel like slogging thru 5 miles of snow to find out what the conditions are on the trail, but I did hear that the snow is mostly gone around the Lahar Lookout area. 


May 28, 2009 - Road 83, just beyond the Marble Mountain Snow Park.

Trail conditions around

Trail conditions around Mount St Helens are looking good!  The Growlers Gulch Trail Crew worked on the South Coldwater Trail (230A) and it is in very good condition according to Jim LeMonds.  The WTA also was working on the upper portion of the South Coldwater (230) this weekend.  So, if you find yourself visiting the Mount St Helens NVM consider exploring that trail system off Highway 504.  Trail 230A is also the trail that Joe and I went up to and got some work in before rain drove us down a few weeks ago.  It looks like a great place to explore and ride your bike in the middle of the blast zone.

Members of NWTA and Evergreen worked this weekend on the Loowit Trail on the Plains of Abraham.  Three of us from Portland: Todd, and two Davids (Harkenss and Anderson) were joined by three people from Seattle: Ken, Chelsea and Ian and got a trail established on the 2nd gully washout, in time for the July 4th ride.  This section is rideable - at least downhill!  A fun time was had by all riding to and from the worksite.  And, a good sense of accomplishment was felt when we saw the completed work being used by mtb'ers and hikers.


Todd and his twins ride the newly re-constructed section for the first time!

While we were up there we saw about 30 mtb'ers and about 15 hikers using the Ape Canyon/Loowit Trails.  About 17 mtb'ers rode the entire Ape Canyon / Smith Creek Trails loop and they report the Smith Creek section of the loop is in it's best condition in at least 6 years.  The only issues they reported were some downed trees in the lower closed 83 road that need to be taken out.  Hearing that report gave me a great feeling of satisfaction knowing that the work that Jerry DeRuyter, myself and six others put in last year has paid off! 

The Ape Canyon Trail is in good condition, but there are some sections that are getting a bit brushy and there's some other trail maintenance work to be done.  The Growlers Gulch people have scheduled a work party for later in July and I would hope that some NWTA members would join them in helping maintain one of the best trails around!

Next work party: Friday July 10th

The next work part for the Mount St Helens area will be July 10th.  Location and details to be announced after July 4th!  So, please stay tuned and mark your calendar!

Road Conditions

There's basically little snow at the Marble Mountain Snow Park.  Road 81 is still gated at the Snow Park, but can be ridden only 1/2 mile to the junction of the June Lake trailhead road.  Unless the snow levels stay low, then I'd expect Road 81 to possibly be open to Lava Canyon - Ape Canyon trailhead within a month.  that means we should be able to ride Smith Creek, as an out and back ride, at that time!

Smith Creek and Ape Canyon Trail conditions.

On June 13, 2010 four of us descended in to Smith Creek from the Ape Canyon trailhead parking lot.  We rode and worked over 11 miles of trail, getting as far as the Ape Canyon Creek crossing.  Conditions on the trail are generally pretty good!  You can see the trails that we coverred at  We had a good time in beautiful weather - despite two chains breaking during the ride.  We were able to look up at Ape Canyon and see quite a bit of snow, but we encountered none where we were.  The trail survived the rather mild winter quite well.  We did take care of a few downed trees that crossed the trail.


Jim, Jeff, Todd and David at the Ape Canyon Creek crossing on the Smith Creek Trail. 

On June 14, 2010 I went back to the Ape Canyon Trail to see what kind of condition it is in.  I was able to get only as close as about a mile and half from Ape Canyon, or about 3900' elevation, where the trail was blocked by snow.  I would anticipated that Ape Canyon will probably be rideable in about two weeks ???  The one tree that was down across the trail is no longer there after it met up with a saw that I was carrying.  The spot I stopped at is on the east side of the ridge line and therefore receives less sun.  This ride can also be found on


Upper Ape Canyon Trail under snow.  June 14, 2010.

Ape Canyon

Ape Canyon Trail is open to the Canyon as of June 21, 2010.  There are however about 5 large snags down within a mile of the canyon.  The Forest Service is planning on removing these snags in the very near future!


Above the canyon it looks like this!  Not quite yet rideable.  It will be as soon as we have some nice warm weather this summer!

Thinkin' about riding it

Thinkin' about riding it (for the first time) this Saturday... any updates would be appreciated...

Ape Canyon - Plains of Abraham


It was in good condition during Helens Fest.  The Forest Service removed the 5 or 6 downed snags prior to our event, and the trail was very good!  A work party led by Jerry DeRuyter went up there on Saturday's work party day and did even more work so, it is now in even better condition! Enjoy your ride!

Ape Canyon trail, Mount St Helens

7/25 ride...

Here are some pics from the ride I did last Sunday... can't wait to go back... 


Thanks for the trail update and pictures (very nice photos!). I've been thinking about doing this trail for the first time in a couple of weeks. The photos really got me excited to go now.