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  1. #1
    Dirtmistress
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    Mt. St. Helens/Smith Crk. Maps & Directions Needed

    I rode Mt. St. Helens in 2010 with a couple friends and a great guy named Charlie that showed us the route.
    It was one of the best rides I've ever done. I plan on being back there mid September with a couple other friends and I was hoping someone could point me to a map of the route we took.
    I remember we started in a small parking lot, that's where the ride finished. I don't remember where we caught the trailhead that took us to Plains Of Abraham, Ape Cyn and past Spirit lake. I remember the trail for Smith dropped off to the right and was a really fun loose pumice downhill.
    Anyway, any directions on the trail route would be greatly appreciated.
    If you want to join us, let me know and I'll let you know when we should be there!
    Thanks
    WWXD.
    What would Xena do?
    She'd clean the whole section,you know that!

  2. #2
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    This link is an excellent map.

    http://trails.evergreenmtb.org/w/upl...-Epic-map1.JPG

    Because the climb out from Smith Creek on the old abandoned section of the 83 road is a hateful miserable slog at the end of the ride, I changed how I did the loop the last time I rode it a few weeks ago. I drove the 8322 road to the lower TH on Smith Creek (at the letter "P" on the map near the note Good Bridge). Ride west on the trail (not shown on this map) that parallels Muddy river a short distance to a good bridge crossing the Muddy. Follow the Muddy downstream and you hit Smith Creek Trail. Turn left and go about a quarter mile to the junction of the abandoned section of the 83 road. Turn left and begin the 4 mile climb. It's not so hateful and miserable at the start of the ride. When you hit pavement turn right and you'll ride straight into the Ape Canyon TH. From here the loop is as shown on the map. When you get back down Smith you can ride on down to the Muddy river and unless we get a big rain soon you can wade across. The trailhead is just across and riding the last 200 yards with wet shoes refreshing if the day is warm. The muddy was pretty high last time I was there so I headed upstream on the trail to the bridge to get across.

  3. #3
    Dirtmistress
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    This link is an excellent map.

    http://trails.evergreenmtb.org/w/upl...-Epic-map1.JPG

    Because the climb out from Smith Creek on the old abandoned section of the 83 road is a hateful miserable slog at the end of the ride, I changed how I did the loop the last time I rode it a few weeks ago. I drove the 8322 road to the lower TH on Smith Creek (at the letter "P" on the map near the note Good Bridge). Ride west on the trail (not shown on this map) that parallels Muddy river a short distance to a good bridge crossing the Muddy. Follow the Muddy downstream and you hit Smith Creek Trail. Turn left and go about a quarter mile to the junction of the abandoned section of the 83 road. Turn left and begin the 4 mile climb. It's not so hateful and miserable at the start of the ride. When you hit pavement turn right and you'll ride straight into the Ape Canyon TH. From here the loop is as shown on the map. When you get back down Smith you can ride on down to the Muddy river and unless we get a big rain soon you can wade across. The trailhead is just across and riding the last 200 yards with wet shoes refreshing if the day is warm. The muddy was pretty high last time I was there so I headed upstream on the trail to the bridge to get across.
    I'll definitely look into that! Thank you!
    WWXD.
    What would Xena do?
    She'd clean the whole section,you know that!

  4. #4
    Daniel the Dog
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    I would do an out and back because you get a sweet downhill back to the car. The Smith Creek route is a so so downhill and ends on a climb; however, each to their own. I do like checking out Spirit Lake. Cool ride either way...

  5. #5
    jp4
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    Re: Mt. St. Helens/Smith Crk. Maps & Directions Needed

    I rode the Plains of Abraham /Smith ck loop about a month ago. Got lost, missed the turn up the old 83 road bed, and ended up riding up the North side of the Muddy River then crossng the bridge going back down the South side of the Muddy River to the campground and up the road.
    Be advised the trail on the north side of the Muddy was eroded to the point it was about a foot wide of crumbling off camber pumice at one point, with about an 80 for drop to the rocks below. I would have turned around, but the kid I was riding with was ahead of me and continued up the trail and it was late afternoon. If you were to fall there, I don't know if it would be survivable.
    Other than that little terrifying section, it was an awesome ride.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp4 View Post
    I rode the Plains of Abraham /Smith ck loop about a month ago. Got lost, missed the turn up the old 83 road bed, and ended up riding up the North side of the Muddy River then crossng the bridge going back down the South side of the Muddy River to the campground and up the road.
    Be advised the trail on the north side of the Muddy was eroded to the point it was about a foot wide of crumbling off camber pumice at one point, with about an 80 for drop to the rocks below. I would have turned around, but the kid I was riding with was ahead of me and continued up the trail and it was late afternoon. If you were to fall there, I don't know if it would be survivable.
    Other than that little terrifying section, it was an awesome ride.
    There are several rock piles and sticks and small logs on the Smith Creek trail marking a prominent junction with the abandoned portion of the 83 road that will take you up to Ape Canyon TH. If one were to miss that and find themselves at the Muddy River, just turn around and go back about a quarter mile looking left for the junction.

    That narrow spot of Lava Canyon trail is not really that bad IMO. I was last there on the last weekend in July. Things may have slid a bit more since then. Just use a bit of caution.

  7. #7
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    So this is a great route. I first rode it in 2011, and then just rode it 2 weeks ago. Seemed to be about the same. We rode from Ape Canyon, up to POA, down to Windy Ridge, then took the asphalt past the Smith Creek viewpoint, and then to the trail at the next pulloff. Some people hike up from the Windy Ridge overlook, but that's too much effort with a bike.

    Don't try to ride all the way up the Lava canyon trail, as it has ladders! Take the old road instead. It is really hard to miss as there are big rock cairns, and a log arrow, on the trail that comes out of Smith Creek.

    As for the eroded trails, yes, there is still the big eroded 1-2 foot wide "spine" section. Not too bad, but a bit of a crux in the middle. The big surprise is further down the trail where there's a section along the river bank that's completely gone. It's somewhat blocked off, with a re-route, but there is definitely a trail just going off into nothing where a huge section of riverbank/trail has fallen into the creek. Be aware of where you're riding when you're on the banks of Smith Creek!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by eporter View Post
    Don't try to ride all the way up the Lava canyon trail, as it has ladders!
    Lava Canyon is closed to bikes above the lower Muddy River footbridge anyway. The junction is signed and the closure noted clearly. Since the upper Lava Canyon trail is very popular, riding it will not go unnoticed. It would be a shame to get the land managers mad at MTB users. We have gained trails and access around St Helens in the past couple years. Don't want to reverse that!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Lava Canyon is closed to bikes above the lower Muddy River footbridge anyway.
    Yes indeed! Just trying to point out that it's also mostly physically impossible, so don't even try. My riding buddy had a map and description saying that lava canyon was all singletrack. Didn't want to go up the old road, so we rode lava to the closed sign where we stopped and turned around. Then some hikers told us about the ladders. I got home and googled pics of the trail, and yep, they weren't kidding. There are some pics of bikers pulling their bikes up the ropes with a ladder after a ranger told them to bike that trail... Not sure how old they were/when the closure went in, but either way it's not a good trail for biking. Grind up the old road!

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