Mt St. Helens Ape Canyon-Smith Creek
An Active Volcano MountainBike Tour

Mountain Biking Mt St Helens "The Loop" Ape Canyon to Smith creek. What an interesting ride up high on the Volcano, Got pretty deep into the bush as well,28miles er so lots of vertical and tons of pumice.
Sun up Coffee on South side of Mt St Helens    Ape Canyon Trail Head
The Trail follows the ridge to the right of Lahars (mud flow) to top right edge of Photo
A 1200' altitude gain over five miles of prime single track climbing
through a lush forest of mature old growth trees.
The Ridge Tops out to a dramatic change from Lush Forest
To the scared top of Ape canyon and the tree less East flanks of Mt St Helens.
(See rider in center of photo on cliff)
The Occasional Snow crossing providing contrast to the Rock
strewn Ash and Pumice landscape on the Loowit Trail.
With views of three neighboring Volcanoes, Mt Adams is the closest
followed by Mt Hood and a distant Mt Rainier.
Leaving the trees behind crossing Plains of Pumiceon the Abraham Trail.
It was like riding on the Moon on Pumice for several
miles around the East side of Mt St Helens.
The Plains erode away to steep ridges and canyons
on the Truman Trail contouring around the North East Side.
To the North looms Mt. Rainier in the distance behind the Windy Ridge
road cut where we are to ride in the treeless Blast zone.
Only sun bleached remnants of blasted trees remain on the Steep Ridges.
Brush and wild flowers have returned to the blasted terrain.
Following the Truman Trail down the Windy Ridge with the smoking Crater behind. Looking back at the Truman Trail on Windy Ridge and into the Smoking Crater.
A few miles of Gravel and Paved road passing the Visitor Center
was a welcome ride in the steep crumbling terrain.
Over the back of the Ridge sits Spirit Lake still covered with
thousands of floating trees from the 1980 eruption.
At Upper Smith Creek Trail head we can see down the Smith creek
drainage to the Washout at Muddy River in the far distance below.
The decent down Upper Smith creek trail was Steep, Crumbling and very
Brushed out.
Every thing is loose Popcorn like pumice rock but at least there was a Trail.
Three Knee deep river crossings and the never-ending trail less washout
at the base of Ape Canyon was discouraging this far into "the Bush".
Afer an hour of "Trail Seeking" we bushwhacked into
the forest desperately seeking a trail. Elated, we found one and rode for several miles
along the River in a canopy of Alder. We found a small rock Carin
and an arrow of sticks on the ground pointing to "the Shortcut" right up the Lava Canyon drainage to "Home" our Van.
The six mile single track climb ascended 1,200 feet up but felt like 12,000 at the end of this Ride. After five thousand "sticklog" crossings the seemingly never ending climb relented and we popped out of the trees just a few feet fromour Van.
Just 10 hours earlier we had been there all clean and full of energy excited to be unloading our bikes. Now we are back with scuffed sore bodies and very wet shoes excited to be loading our bikes.
A very interesting ride on the "moon like" volcanic terrain.
During the two hour drive home I thought that after this ride we would be ready to ride... Mars.
Meanwhile back on earth we arrived home and slept Really GOOD having completed our local active Volcanio mountian bike tour.