Ape Canyon trail is an amazing trail in the Mt. St. Helens Volcano zone. This is one of the trails open to mountain biking that allows riders to get close to Mt. St. Helens and into part of the zone affected by the blast back in May 1980.
The forecast for Saturday was supposed to be sunny, we were going to reproduce the Smith Creek Loop like we did in 2003, but the weather did not cooperate. We drove up Hwy 99 to see how the views looked and well, they were moody.
Trees devastated by the 1980 blast.
We did the ~50mile drive to the Ape Canyon trail head to do this as an out and back. Glad we did cause this was a good way to do the ride without making it a death march!
Ape Canyon Parking Lot.
The signage in the area is very good.
We rode tr 243 to 217 and back. A 26km trip took us a leisurely 5 hours with 860m of climbing.
The Ape Canyon trail is a multiuse trail that is well maintained and buff.
Lee on Ape Canyon.
The trail follows the rim of the forest offering views of Mt. St. Helens when its clear…
She was hiding this early afternoon.
We stopped near the top of the trail for a bite to eat!
2/3rds of Trevors sandwich = 1/10 of what I eat…
We get onto the Plains of Abraham where the views are usually pretty good!
The trail follows many gullies and pumice mounds.
You can see the trail in the background. Weird thing today, one hiker took off all his clothes at that point to hang out, so we didn’t.
Across the Plains of Abraham Mt. St. Helens looms behind the clouds.
Lee, Trevor and Chris.
Through the gullies, the trees seem to be the last to recover from the devastating blast.
We’re onto Windy Ridge and what would be the final descent had we done the loop.
On the way back the clouds lift and we see the Mountain!
Coming back towards the final descent you can see the trail barely hanging onto this ridge…
Don’t fall !
Back onto the Ape Canyon Trail for the final descent.
Back at the campsite.
51 bottles of beer around the fire, 51 bottles of beer…
Google Earth map of the trail.