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black Boundary Trail #1

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30.5 mile 49.0 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 6,506' 1,983 m
Descent: -5,672' -1,729 m
High: 5,235' 1,596 m
Low: 3,818' 1,164 m


Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 52% (27°)


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Trail shared by Leslie Kehmeier

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A historic long distance trail that provides many challenges with amazing views.

Leslie Kehmeier

E-Bikes Allowed

Features -none-

From Bear Meadows west, Boundary Trail is open to hiking only.


Boundary Trail is a very challenging long distance route. It is open to bicycles from Bear Meadows east to Council Lake.

Along its length, the trail has fantastic views of St. Helens, Rainier, Adams with a few glimpses of Mt Hood. During the Ice Age, the area was heavily glaciated, evident by the knife-edge ridges and cirque basins seen from the route.

Due to its length and technical challenge, Boundary is often done as an out-and-back or by shuttle combined with other trails in the area. There are significant climbs and descents throughout the route.

From Elk Pass to Badger Peak, there is a long, steady climb. From there to the south ridge below Craggy Peak, the route follows a more mellow grade to the east side of Hat Rock. The segments from Langille Ridge to the eastern end are a series of very steep climbs and descents through creek drainages, accessing Juniper Ridge Trail #261 and Dark Meadow Trail #263. Throughout the ride you'll have expansive views of the South Cascades in a very remote setting.

Western End Option - Bear Meadows to Elk Pass Out-and-Back:

This segment of Boundary travels along a timbered, broad ridge, with occasional views of St. Helens. Be prepared for some steep bits through here that may be loose and rutted.

Eastern End Option - Dark Meadow Shuttle:

Ride Boundary Trail #1 from the eastern end at Council Lake east. Turn right on Juniper Ridge Trail #261 and pedal through Dark Meadow to the base of the climb up to Jumbo Peak. Stay right on Dark Meadow Trail #263 and enjoy a continuous descent to FR 23.


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Jul 9, 2018
Douglas Johnson
Council Lake to Summit Prairie DH. Ride time 6:10 Trip time 9:36. 6700ft climbed
Aug 6, 2016
Sean Corey
The best of Gifford Pinchot. Highly suggested to do as a point to point(Council lake to coldwater lake) at least once in your life. 50mi — 20h 00m

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 4 votes


  5.0 from 4 votes
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in Washington


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2,357 Since Jun 25, 2016
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Megan Chinburg
Portland, OR
Megan Chinburg   Portland, OR
The entire Boundary Trail is open to bikes from Council Lake all the way west to Coldwater Lake. There is clear signage to let you know that bikes are allowed on the trail west of Bear Meadows. There is some treefall between Bear Meadows and Norway pass, but the section is less than 4 miles, and the trail/views/experience is well worth the effort. Aug 9, 2016
Scott Jones
Issaquah, WA
Scott Jones   Issaquah, WA
Rode from Bear Meadows to Council Lake 8/24/2018. If you like pushing your bike on deeply trenched, moto'd out, pulverized trail, this is for you! From craggy peak to the last climb before council lake the Boundary trail has been pretty shredded by motos. A few nice bits in there and the scenery is pretty nice but trail was pretty brutal. Had intended to do an overnight out and back, but easily decided to bail and took roads back to Bear Meadows with a bit of the Valley trail #270 as a consolation prize. Aug 26, 2018

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