In 1980 Mount St Helens erupted leaving few recognizable landmarks. What was left is now one of the most unique riding areas anywhere. Likened to the surface of the moon in the past vegetation is now returning after 30 years.
Ape Canyon Trail follows a steady but not technically difficult climb up to the Plains and breaks out of the forest into the 1980 Devastated Area at the narrow cleft that is it's namesake, Ape Canyon. From there it's a short climb in the open up to the Plains. Many riders go as far as a ridge top perch that overlooks the landslide filled Toutle and blasted Smith Creek drainages. Those that turn around there enjoy a smooth descent across the Plains and a fast smooth ride back down the Ape Canyon Trail.
More adventurous riders continue north to Windy Ridge and on to the Smith Creek Trailhead. It's a fast steep descent in to Smith Creek on a trail over loose pumice. Several waterfalls, rarely seen except by mountain bikers are found on the Smith Creek Trail. The trail down Smith Creek alternates between singletrack and doubletrack arched over by Alders reminiscent of the hallway going to to see the Wizard of Oz. The climb out of Smith Creek is 1100 feet in three miles on old doubletrack maintained for MTB'ers.
The total for the entire loop is about 25 miles with 5,000 feet of climbing. It has been said that a singlespeeder has done this loop three times in one day. A good workout on a unique landscape.