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Ape Canyon

Average Rating:    (4.63 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 19

Approx 3miles of quite steep climbing on singletrack through old growth forest, leading to singletrack through plains of abraham. This is as close to riding on the face of the moon as you can get. The trail is well traveled and well packed. Views are gorgeous from beginning to end. Pack lots of water.
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Latitude
46.20194
Longitude
-122.13678
Trail Directions
I5 to sr503---503 East to jct with fs 83. North on fs83 11 miles to trailhead on left side on road. Need parking permit avail at lava canyon trailhead or annual pass
Trail Length
23 miles out&back
Trail Level
Intermediate
Trail Type
Singletrack
City/County
Cougar
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (19 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
August 17, 2009

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: jarredjackman ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Road Ape Canyon to Smith Creek 8/17/2009, really is one of the best trails I've ever done. Ape Canyon is in great shape, smooth, buffed, Smith is more primitive but still amazing and well worth the trip. It's a challenging trail, but if you think riding 30 miles is fun and you like challenge, this trail won't feel as hard as all the descriptions make it out to be.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Lewis River, Falls Creek.



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Review Date
August 11, 2008

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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Reviewed by: cowabr ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Rode on 8-9-08. The road to drive all the way in to the Ape Canyon where you would normally park to start your ride is still closed. You have to park at the lot on FR83 approximately 4-6 miles from the trailhead due to the road being washed out. There are plenty of other cars there on the weekend so you shouldn't have trouble finding where to park....and the parking lot is a large one. It is a fairly easy pedal on paved roads but plan on the extra 12 miles total to your trip. As I mentioned, it is a fairly easy pedal though. Once you get up and down the trail, it's all worth it! The first 3.5 miles will test your legs and lungs. There are a few places just after the ridge and just before the Plains that you will have to hike, but they are very short walks. Overall, it's beautiful and you can't get much better than this for scenery!



Comments
ujelang (07/28/2009)
Forest Service Road 83 is now open all the way to the trailhead so you will not need to park in the Marble Mountain Snow Park - unless you want the extra 5 miles of riding on the road! The Ape Canyon trail is now in very good condition, as is the Smith Creek Trail which makes for an epic 25 mile loop. If doing the loop, do it in a clockwise direction and bring plenty of water. There is virtually no water until you get to the bottom of Smith Creek - and a filter would be recommended. Parking permits can be purchased at the Lone Fir Resort in Cougar, or at Ape Cave. Lava Canyon may have self serve parking permits if it is open - there was some repair work being done during the summer of 2009 on replacing a bridge and that parking lot was closed for a time.
Check out: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6657727 for a map of the route which includes the extra 5 miles (one way) on the road. This route also uses the portion of Road 83 which is closed to motorized vehicles but is kept open and maintained for mountain bike use. As of this writing it is open, but does have a few downed trees needing removal. This route provides the quickest exit up and out of Smith Creek. Enjoy the ride!
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Review Date
July 20, 2007

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: sakura10 ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
This is an update to Brain's update which was very helpful. I rode this trail on the 15th of July '07. You can park at the Marble Mtn. Snow Park Parking lot. From there its about five miles on paved forest road to the Ape Canyon trail head. This road has some stretches of sand, and a few washouts. It also offers great views of Mt. St. Helens and the lahar. The link below should take you to a pic of one washout that hasn't quite taken the road out yet.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v484/sakura10/riverroad01.jpg

From the trail head, you run into some early fallen trees and washouts. Then you climb and climb and climb. The single track is full of loose rock and sand early, but later turns out to be pretty manageable forest floor. A thick forest canopy provides shade and reveals glimpses of the valleys below. As you get further into the forest, the flies start getting thick.

In fact, the flies were my greatest motivation to keep climbing. If you stop to rest, they become unbearable. Blooming mountain flowers and miner's lettuce lines the way up the mountain side to reach the beginning of the Plains of Abraham. The total distance and climb from the parking lot to about 1 mile into the Plains was 8.25 miles and 1,651 feet.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v484/sakura10/Abraham05.jpg
I chose to turn around early, when I ran out of water. I packed about 1.5 liters in my camelbak. If I were to try it again, I would bring a portable water filter to refill at the tiny glacial streams at the beginning of the Plains.

The ride back was some great downhill action. The flies couldn't keep up with me then. A long cool downhill ride awaited me after the ape trail back to the parking lot.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v484/sakura10/sthelenlahar01.jpg


Recommended Route:
See Brain's review below. I would recommend packing lots of water and taking the time to soak in the views. Don't forget your tools. My chain bounced off the bottom ring on the way back and got wedged into the frame. It would have been a long, dark, walk back to the parking lot if I didn't have my tools.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Lewis River, Siouxon Falls.



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Review Date
July 8, 2007

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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Reviewed by: Brain ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Just an access update. Noting that there is signage on the road indicating that Lava Canyon was closed, I stopped by the Mt. St. Helens HQ to ask about it. Evidently the road was washed out last November and will probably not be repaired until next year. While the Lava Canyon hiking trail is closed due to damage that has created treacherous conditions, the Ape Canyon trail is open. However, because of the washed-out road, the closest parking is at the Marble Mt. Sno-Park, about 3 miles from the trailhead (this would be 3 miles uphill on single-lane asphalt). I did not ride up there yet this year, but the Forest Service staff indicated that the Ape Canyon trail has been checked out & is passable.

I think that this is probably the most awe-inspiring ride in Washington. Begins with about 5 miles, mostly uphill, through the timber along the Muddy River, then up & down across the Plains of Abraham & along the ridge to Windy Ridge.

Recommended Route:
Some common MTB book features this trail starting Windy Ridge, going down Smith Creek, then up the road 5 miles, past the Ape Canyon trailhead and up the trail to Windy Ridge.

This is all backwards. This is much better as an out-and-back from the Ape Canyon trailhead to Windy Ridge & back. Smith Creek loop is long and adds nothing to the trip (unless you enjoy the initial 3-mile downhill through constant pumice switchbacks) but a long climb at the halfway point, just enough to spoil the pleasure of the spectacular views as one traverses the Plains of Abraham.

Masochists may well differ with me, though.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Lewis River is very nice.

NOT the trail connecting the Ape Canyon trail to the June Lake trail. While it is spectacular, it is almost vertical in places, and when we tried it a couple of years ago, we ended up walking our bicycles almost 5 miles.



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Review Date
August 30, 2006

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

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Reviewed by: dean.gaylor@hp.com ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
First two miles gained about 1600 feet - steady climb on single track with good riding surface. The first few miles are in the woods, with occasional vista's to unbelievable canyons.

When you get above the tree line, it's worth a ride through The Plains of Abraham, but the pumice rock and larger bolders can force you to dismount and walk.

Turnaround when you get to the ladder - it's not worth it. Too much work to come back up it.

Recommended Route:
Ape Canyon + Plains of Abraham



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Reviews 1 - 5 (19 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5
 


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