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Ape Canyon Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.6 (9)

A climb/decent up the base of Mt. St. Helens. It also connects to the IMBA epic, Plains of Abraham.


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Map Key

4.5

Miles

7.3

KM

Singletrack

4,189' 1,277 m

High

2,876' 877 m

Low

1,539' 469 m

Up

226' 69 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Because of its height abbove sea level, this trail accumulates a lot of snow. You'll have access to the trail as early as June (when snow generally melts), however it's not officially opened until deemed ready by the Forest reserve. You can check the status here: fs.usda.gov/recarea/mountst….

To park here you need a Northwest Forest Pass which you can purchase online or on location (near the Ape Canyon Cave).

Description

You can park right in front of the starting point. The trail is 100% singletrack that gradually takes you up the southeast side of the volcano, Mt. Saint Helens. You'll occasionally get openings with gorgeous views across the plains, a devastation spurred by its eruption in the 80's. Views are pretty unique as you'll see the direct path of the lava flow down the volcano.

Once you get near the top, you'll leave the forest and head into ashen volcanic plains (marked as the ending point on the trail). You'll have an amazing view with some of the Pacific Northwest's tallest mountains surrounding you. You'll of course have Saint Helens in front of you, however depending on the visibility you can also have a clear view of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams all at this point.

It's from here that you can decide to tackle The Plains of Abraham, which is one of the IMBA epic trails that tracks the rider around the eastern perimeter of the volcano. It's a very favorable ride (as an IMBA epic should be), but considering the altitude gain, it is covered in snow most of the year. It's recommended to try tackling it from July to October.

Contacts

Shared By:

Nick Alvey

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 9 votes

#2294

Overall
  4.6 from 9 votes
5 Star
56%
4 Star
44%
3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#45

in Washington

#2,294

Overall
111 Views Last Month
7,758 Since Jun 10, 2013
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
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43%
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57%
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Photos

Passing alongside some lava flow heading towards Mount St. Helens.
Sep 28, 2016 near Amboy, WA
St. Helens, Plains of Abraham. Found a hidden wheel-sized hole in a stream - oops.
May 11, 2016 near Morton, WA
Beginning our descent back to Ape Canyon from the Plains of Abraham, riding on pumice
Sep 28, 2016 near Morton, WA
Mt. St. Helens.
Jul 9, 2016 near Amboy, WA
Various cuts n splices of highlights and views from this trail system! I'm not much of a videographer, but I hope you enjoy!
Sep 6, 2016 near Morton, WA
Descent of Ape Canyon
Aug 9, 2020 near Morton, WA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 14 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Sep 22, 2019
Isaac
Jul 20, 2019
Dan Beel
Trail is in good condition. A few technical spots to hike through ( 20mi
Aug 7, 2017
Jeff Stoltenburg
Excellent trail needs at least a 27" bike but managed with a 26"
Jul 23, 2017
Chris Stewart
Trail in good shape. Go early and pedal hard. LOTS of riders and hikers on the way down. Worth the ride for the views. 12mi — 2h 40m
Aug 13, 2016
John Sti
Awesome - epic intro to Mt. St. Helens trail system. 4.6mi — 1h 58m
Jul 19, 2016
Brock Warner
Long grueling climb with the perfect reward at the top
Jul 5, 2016
Rich Hatfield
a bit overgrown in places but otherwise glorious.
Jun 4, 2014
Steve Parrish