Day 4 - Mt St Helens (Washington State)

Mountain bike trail ride - Ape Canyon -> Plains of Abraham -> Windy Ridge (Mt St Helens, Washington)

 
 
 
 
 
 

We woke up early and packed our bikes ready for our ride on Mt St Helens. We decided not to eat the Hotel as the food all looked bad.

We stopped off at Rosies Resturant where we had a very very tasty breakfast with loads of french toast and pancakes. We then stopped off at the Safeways to buy more water and then headed east along the 503 and then onto FR83.

Map to Marble Mtn ski area Snake caught up with us just past Cougar, He had driven up from Portland to do the ride with us. We stopped and said hello as this was the first time we had met before. Then we continued driving towards the Marble Mountain Ski Area. Driving to Marble Mtn ski area
Driving to Marble Mtn ski area The drive from woodland to the ski area was about 40 miles and took less than an hour to get there as there was not much traffic on the road, on the way we caught glimpses of the crater, which had faint plume of some coming out of it. Driving to Marble Mtn ski area

At Marble mountain Ski Area car park, we were the only people there other than some other MTB'rs who were parked up in a Large RV. We unpacked our bikes and got our gear ready for the ride making sure we filled our camalbaks right up, as it was it looked like it was shaping up to be hot day.

We had our first crash of the day before we even left the car park at about 10am, as snake crashed whilst pulling a wheelie in the car park 8-)

Mt St Helens riding the road to get to Ape Canyon trailhead Mt St Helens riding the road to get to Ape Canyon trailhead Mt St Helens riding the road to get to Ape Canyon trailhead
Mt St Helens riding the road to get to Ape Canyon trailhead The main reason we parked at the Marble mountain ski park, was the road you had to go along to get to the Ape Canyon Trailhead had been washed out and was impassable cars, so we had to ride 5 miles along the road. The 5 miles passed quickly as we chatted to each other and admired the views, roads are great when there's no cars on them, and you want to get somewhere quick. Mt St Helens riding the road to get to Ape Canyon trailhead
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington We arrived at the trail head, and started to ride along the Ape Canyon trail, the ground was very springy as the trail trail pixies had been out with their chainsaws and rerouted the trail away from where it had been washed away next to the Muddy river in previous storms. Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Initially Clare was anxious that she would hold me and Snake up, and the first part of the trail was quite rooty and she took a tumble - but didn't get hurt as the trail was so soft at the start, But as the trail got smoother she got back into her groove on the ride. And me and Snake were more than happy to get on with the ride, stopping occasionally for her to catch up. Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington The trail was was great fast rolling single track, mostly hard packed with a few loose sections, at time the trail broke out the trees giving us great views of the volcano. Which had a small plume of smoke heading west. Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington The trail climbed consistently with a series of nice switch backs at just the right gradient, at times the trail also dipped down while navigating streams and gully's. Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington As Snake knew the trail and I had to wait for Clare he decided to shoot off down a section of trail, just as he disappeared round a corner I heard him cry out. Getting on my bike I rode down the trail and found him sandwiched under his bike, almost off the edge of a steep cliff (If he'd gone further this web page probably wouldn't exist). He'd washed out his front wheel on a loose section of the trail. We pulled him back onto the trail, He had gouged a large chunk of skin our of his knee, But Snake just washed out the wound a bit , put some disinfectant on it and then wrapped his bandana around it and declared that he was still good to ride !!! Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington After 4.6 miles of climbing up through a Red Cedar and Douglass fir forest, the trees receeded as we rode along the edge of Ape Canyon. Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington As we approached the plains, we came to the only part of the ride where there was a significant risk of death if you went off the edge. But you'd have to be riding very badly to do this as the trail is still about 2ft wide at it narrowest (Unless of course you ride the trail like a loon and wash out your front wheel) Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington We stopped at a sign, just before the start of the Plains of Abraham trail - apparently if there's an eruption just DONT PANIC! and everything will be ok 8-) Mt St Helens , Ape Canyon Mountain Bike trail going up , Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington The ride along the plains trail was great, with not much in the way of significant elevation changes, there we a couple of deep gully's which we found to unrideable, and we had to manhandle our bike and ourselves up and down tem. Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington There was a lot more vegetation than I'd seen in other peoples pictures from previous years, and lots of flowers were in Bloom. Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Although there was more vegetation, at times it did thin out a lot and the area did have a moonscape feel to it. Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington As the Plains trail came to end we crossed a nice technical wash, before we started to head up more steeply up a series of ridges. Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington There were great views of the surrounding mountain peaks, and a lot more vegetation as we climbed up towards windy ridge. Plains of Abraham trail Mountain Bike ride, Mt St Helens, Washington
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens - Click to Enlarge Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens - Click to Enlarge Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens We stopped at was normally considered the turning around point, and decided that it would be rude not to do the whole ride so we headed down the trail towards the infamous steps. Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens From pictures I'd seen on other peoples rides, I'd never realized just how steep the steps were, or how loose the ground was either side of them. Snake rode down most of the steps, But me and Clare wimped out and pushed our bikes down most of it. Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens After the steps the trail flowed down smoothly, until it joined on to a dirt track which we headed along to get to the Windy Ridge view point. Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Along the way we saw an Eagle carrying a large fish in its Talons, unfortunately even with 3 cameras snapping away we only managed to get 2 pictures worth showing , and even in them the Eagles tiny - you had to be there to appreciate how cool it was. Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens After more descending we arrived at the Windy ridge car park where we stopped, ate and took in the views of the Volcano and Spirit Lake. Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens After a rest we then saddled up and headed back the way we had came. Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens We all had to push our bikes back up the steps , it was very hot and we were all panting like dogs by the time we reached the top of the steps. Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens We stopped at the turn around point and took some photos, before continuing back along the trail. Windy Ridge Mountain bike ride, Mt St Helens
Mounatin Mounatin Mounatin
Mounatin Mounatin Mounatin
Mounatin Mounatin Mounatin

Mounatin

Mounatin Mounatin
Mounatin Once we had regained our elevation, the drop back to the plains was nice and fast. Mounatin
Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens
Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens In places you could see where all the trees had been blown down by the eruption. Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens
Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens
Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens The views of the surrounding mountains were breathtaking. Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens
Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens
The only parts of the ride that were not rideable were the steps going down windy ridge, and several gully's like this one on the Plains of Abraham. Plains of Abraham Mountain Bike Ride, Mt ST Helens
Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington
Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington This was the only part of the trail where if you weren't paying attention, that you could tumble off down a cliff. Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington
Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington
Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington
Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington On the way back down Snake pointed out to us a Huckleberry bush, we'd never tasted them before. I really like them and ate a many as I could pull off the bush. Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington
Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington
Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington
Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington The descent back down through the forest was fast and fun, although I couldn't go as fast as Snake , as I had to wait occasionally for Clare to make sure she hadn't crashed or been bothered by a bear. Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington
Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington
Ape Canyon Mountain bike trail, Mt St Helens, Washington Clare managed to navigate the last parts of the trail with out coming off, and we then rode back along the road towards the car. Riding the road back to the Marble Mountain Ski Area, Mt St Helens
Riding the road back to the Marble Mountain Ski Area, Mt St Helens Riding the road back to the Marble Mountain Ski Area, Mt St Helens As we had plenty of time to spare, we stopped and took some photos of the washed out road.
Riding the road back to the Marble Mountain Ski Area, Mt St Helens Riding the road back to the Marble Mountain Ski Area, Mt St Helens Riding the road back to the Marble Mountain Ski Area, Mt St Helens
Riding the road back to the Marble Mountain Ski Area, Mt St Helens Riding the road back to the Marble Mountain Ski Area, Mt St Helens We then carried on riding back towards the cars.
Riding the road back to the Marble Mountain Ski Area, Mt St Helens Snakes leg

When we got back to the car, Snake cleaned up his wound, and we packed up our bikes.

We then had some chilled bears and cold water melon generously provided by snake, and chilled out after our ride.

Snakes Leg

The ride had been one of the most scenic rides we had every done. And Snake had been the perfect riding companion, it was a shame he had injured his self and wouldn't be able to ride again few a few days, and that we were going to be leaving his area very shortly.

Back at Marble Mtn Ski Area

The ride back took less time than going out we arrived back at the cars by 5.15pm In total we had ridden about 32 miles. Below is a route profile from my GPS and the route we took. Email me for garmin GDB file

 Mt St Helens ride Map Mt St Helens ride profile

We then drove back to the Hotel, where we had a swim (pool was quite cold) and then a Hot Tub (which was too hot). Before heading our for a meal at Casa Tapatia Mexican restaurant for a huge meal.  I had Mole Enchiladas and Apple Chimichanga and Clare has a Chile Relleno Burrito both of which were very good.

DAY 5