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  1. #1
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    Ride Report - Mt Saint Helens (Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham)

    A ride report from our recent trip up to Mt. Saint Helens for a tour of Ape Canyon and The Plains --such an amazing place! If you live in the area and haven't done it, it's a must do!

    Wheels & Water: Mt. Saint Helens, WA - Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham (7.20.13)

    -Nate

  2. #2
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    Ride Report - Mt Saint Helens (Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham)

    Great ride report and pictures. I really need to get down there and do this ride. Which bike would you recommend, enduro 29er or hardtail xc bike for down there?

  3. #3
    That Waters Guy
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    That was a really great ride report, thanks Nate!

    As far as enduro 29er or hardtail xc bike, either is fine. But I'd bring the 9er unless I hated climbing on it.
    Rolland

  4. #4
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    Another great Mt St Helens RR, thanks for posting. I will say my biggest complaint with that ride are those flies. I've never seen such aggressive little beasts anywhere else!

  5. #5
    FM
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    Top notch ride report.....
    and 5 extra chilis for filing your garmin connect route under "Recumbent Cycling"!!

    Ride Report - Mt Saint Helens (Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham)-500004737-03-01.jpg

  6. #6
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    Nate Dogg- thanks a ton for writing that up! On the list!

  7. #7
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    GREAT review!! Awesome pics! Thanks for sharing.

    Where do you get the "map" that you used?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagtech360 View Post
    GREAT review!! Awesome pics! Thanks for sharing.

    Where do you get the "map" that you used?
    Thanks! The map book I was using was this one:
    Amazon.com: Mountain Bike! Southwest Washington: A Guide to Trails and Adventure (9781570611377): John Zilly: Books

    If you're looking for just a map, this is a great one, here:
    Hood River, Oregon Mountain Biking Map & Guide | Adventure Maps

    Hope this helps!
    Nate

  9. #9
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    Thanks Nate Dogg!! Looking to do this ride soon and want to get an idea of where to go ahead of time.

  10. #10
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    Saturday morning I dropped in from the top and went down Smith Creek, Up the ape canyon trail doing this ride as a loop.

    Thunderstorms the night before made trail conditions prime and cloud cover in the valley helped keep the temp down all day. I did a great road loop the night before and between the two rides I was all smiles



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by yo EDDY View Post
    Saturday morning I dropped in from the top and went down Smith Creek, Up the ape canyon trail doing this ride as a loop.

    Thunderstorms the night before made trail conditions prime and cloud cover in the valley helped keep the temp down all day. I did a great road loop the night before and between the two rides I was all smiles


    Yo Eddy!

    Is this the preferred route? I'm up for a challenge and a climb but the rest of the group may not be..... any advise? Also, where is the "top" you referred to? TH near windy Ridge viewpoint?

    Thanks!

  12. #12
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    If you want to make this a loop rather than an out and back, yes, i'd say it's about the only option. Typically though I like to park at the bottom and climb first, then descend back to the car. Simply based on where I wanted to road bike, and live in Olympia, I chose to park at the top.

    I parked right at the smith creek trail head off of 99 right before getting to windy ridge. The total ride was about 28miles and was what I would call fairly tough. If you have a diverse amount of fitness in your group, and out and back up ape canyon would maybe be a better choice as the weak could turn back whenever than wanted.

  13. #13
    Justin Vander Pol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagtech360 View Post
    Yo Eddy!
    Is this the preferred route? I'm up for a challenge and a climb but the rest of the group may not be..... any advise? Also, where is the "top" you referred to? TH near windy Ridge viewpoint?
    Thanks!
    For your first time and if you're unsure about the entire group, I'd do an out-and-back from the Ape Canyon trail head to Windy Ridge. I probably wouldn't go down the stairs at the end, it doesn't get you much unless you want to visit the visitor center. This is the classic that most people do, and great bang for the buck.
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  14. #14
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    Thanks for the input guys!!!

    So the decent back down Smith then the climb back up to FR83 across on Lava Canyon trail is pretty rough?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagtech360 View Post
    Thanks for the input guys!!!

    So the decent back down Smith then the climb back up to FR83 across on Lava Canyon trail is pretty rough?
    Smith Creek drops down over 2000 feet real quick on super loose, pumice/sand nearly the whole way. Then you have several miles of river side trail which is very rolly, up and down, techy in spots, with a fair number of hike a bikes up and down. I was way more tired at the bottom of smith creek trail at FS 83 than I figured I would be.

    Also, the trail map shows a cut over trail 184 which is currently closed to biking so you are forced to ride the FS 83 road up and over to the Ape Canyon trailhead.

    Again, if you have ranging fitness types in your group, I'd go with starting at Ape Canyon trailhead and do it as an out and back.

  16. #16
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    Road riding from Smith to Ape can be avoided

    Quote Originally Posted by yo EDDY View Post
    Smith Creek drops down over 2000 feet real quick on super loose, pumice/sand nearly the whole way. Then you have several miles of river side trail which is very rolly, up and down, techy in spots, with a fair number of hike a bikes up and down. I was way more tired at the bottom of smith creek trail at FS 83 than I figured I would be.

    Also, the trail map shows a cut over trail 184 which is currently closed to biking so you are forced to ride the FS 83 road up and over to the Ape Canyon trailhead.

    Again, if you have ranging fitness types in your group, I'd go with starting at Ape Canyon trailhead and do it as an out and back.
    Great advice for the most part. I wouldn't expect Lava Canyon trail 184 (where you intersect with the bridge) to ever be open to bikes, and if it were, would likely not be fun.

    However, you don't need to ride up a road to get from bottom of Smith to Ape . Take a moment and study the map at http://trails.evergreenmtb.org/w/upl...-Epic-map1.JPG

  17. #17
    FM
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    Couple of us rode the Smith Creek loop yesterday with the "shortcut" trail- 23.5 miles.
    The "shortcut" (looked like a road>trail conversion) was easy to find.

    Not awesome getting heckled by fresh & clean riders yesterday as we pushed up sections of Ape Canyon climb. Like Yo Eddy said... You've already done 4k' up & down by the time you get to the bottom of ape canyon, with more to come.

    Another route note- not too much rideable trail between windy ridge and the top of smith creek. It's worth doing for the views of spirit lake, but don't expect to ride much of it. It's only 1.3 miles though.

    Great day though! Really crazy scenery.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenobonn View Post
    Great advice for the most part. I wouldn't expect Lava Canyon trail 184 (where you intersect with the bridge) to ever be open to bikes, and if it were, would likely not be fun.

    However, you don't need to ride up a road to get from bottom of Smith to Ape . Take a moment and study the map at http://trails.evergreenmtb.org/w/upl...-Epic-map1.JPG
    Thanks for the map!! It's a little different than the one I found:

    Abraham Trail 216D, Ape Canyon Trail 234, Loowit Trail 216, Smith Creek Trail 225, Willow Springs Trail 207 Mountain Biking and Hiking Topo Map

  19. #19
    FM
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    _DSC6092 by emailsucks98, on Flickr


    _DSC6101 by emailsucks98, on Flickr
    Last edited by FM; 08-18-2013 at 04:38 PM.

  20. #20
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    Wow, those are awesome shots, FM! I gotta get out there on the Ape Canyon/Plains of Abe trail this summer!
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  21. #21
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    So stoked! Going up for a loooong weekend, this weekend. Plains/Ape is our "warmup" for the weekend. Thanks for the stoke and write up Nate!

    Brock...
    Are the wheels roundish? Ride it.

    Disciples Of Dirt, come ride with us.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaKlyde View Post
    So stoked! Going up for a loooong weekend, this weekend. Plains/Ape is our "warmup" for the weekend. Thanks for the stoke and write up Nate!

    Brock...
    For sure, glad to do it!
    Have fun up north!

  23. #23
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    Has anyone ridden Ape Canyon/Plains of Abe since the big snow a week or so ago? I suspect that the trail is fine, since it is mainly less than 4500' and in the Mission Ridge area of Wenatchee Mountains up to 5800' is pretty clear. I'm looking to go on Thursday.

    Thanks for any recent info you can share.
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  24. #24
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    It was awesome. I would hate to do it in July or August when it is hot!
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRSpalding View Post
    It was awesome. I would hate to do it in July or August when it is hot!
    That was the ONE ride this year I just couldn't make the time to tick off my list. Really hoped to finally hit it, oh well, there's always next year.
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