Mt. St. Helen’s Trip – Day 1 – Juniper Ridge

The Gifford Pinchot area of Washington has quite a few trails and very rugged country. While the mountain biking is not bad and the scenery amazing, the trails are often shared with Motorcycles, as Juniper Ridge is. There are many other trails in this area that you can also explore.

We left Thursday afternoon for a leisurely drive and got to Iron Creek Campground where we would stay for the next three nights. This is a REALLY nice campground close to Cispus River.

Refreshing ourselves after a long drive.

Map of Juniper Ridge from MTBR Story. The Blue is the trail, the red is the road which we chose to shuttle since we value our R&R time.

25km of trail with 1546m of climbing, 1865m of descending and not riding the 19km road ride.

The elevation profile of the day. The pushes wouldn’t have been so bad if the descents weren’t so dusty and torn up by the motos.

The Moto guys call the Bullshit Downhill – Devils Staircase.

Two motos started at the same place we did up Dark Meadows Trail ( #263). We saw another group of 7 during the day doing the same loop and 5 others on the trail.

This guy was good, which is a good thing cause this trail got NASTY!

Nice thing about this area is the HUGE Douglas Firs! I don’t think this forest has ever been logged.

Dark Meadows

We can ride here! Yeah!

Lee and Chris enjoying the climb.

Let the trenching begin.

One section of trenched trail that is maintained with water bars.

After Dark Meadows we turn onto the Juniper Ridge Trail ( #261). Once at the top of Jumbo we can see Mt. Adams, Ranier and Mt. St. Helens.

Trevor carbo loading.

Heading towards Jumbo peak with Ranier in the distance.

See the trail snake up the other side?

Lots of signs of old volcanic activity.

Trail too soft to ride.

A nice descent!

Chris railing it! bit dusty…

You can see Ranier in the distance and Sunrise peak in the foreground. Lee is pointing at the trail.

We descend now?

Riding down from Jumbo Peak.


Then we go up Sunrise.

Even walking raises the dust.

At the top of each push you can see more of the ridge.

long trail !

Look mom, more pushing.

heading up Sunrise.

Yup more pushing.

Push variation #3.

Nearing the top of Juniper Peak.



More Juniper Ridge.

Yes, there were some nice sections.

Heading around Juniper with Ranier in the distance.

Looming clouds!

Lee coming along Juniper with Mt. Adams in the background.



Part of the Tongue Mt descent ( #294). For sure, it all looks like this. The moto’s haven’t torn up this one…

The Chromag waiting to go!

Then we get back to camp for a nice fire and refreshments!

The Champagne of Beer and the King of Beers!

Next time I would recommend parking a car at the bottom of Tongue Mt Trail (#294). Driving to the top of the trail off road 29->2904, pushing up to the top of Juniper ridge and riding back to the bottom of Tongue Mt trail. The push up Dark Meadows and Sunrise don’t justify the descents. While the moto’s cause of the erosion, these trails probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them so this is just the way it is if you want to ride these trails.


Juniper Ridge – St Helens from Lee Lau on Vimeo.

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