The Ape Canyon Trail up to the Plains of Abraham on Mount Saint Helens is a unique experience due to its special history. Mt. Saint Helens is the volcano that errupted in 1980 and literally blew up its top 400 meters. The upper part of the mountain came down as pumice and ash and formed the Plains of Abraham – a lunarlike landscape. It is one of my favorite rides because of the breathtaking landscape and views and the fun surfing down the pumice and zipping down the flowy singletrack trail. From the trailhead near Lava Canyon the ride starts with strenous uphill through a stretch of old grown forest that has survived the erruption while mud and lava flows to left and right have taken away any other vegetation. At the top of the trail spectacular views are waiting and the ride across the Plains of Abraham begins. After half circling the Mt. Saint Helens crater to Windy Ridge there is either the option to continue down to Smith Creek for an epic loop or to turn around and enjoy the Ape Canyon Trail as a zippy downhill.
The Lewis River Trail is another great trail through lush forest less than a half-hour drive away from Mt. Saint Helens/Ape Canyon Trailhead. The Lewis River Trail is a classic ride through northwestern rain forest and can be ridden out & back. The Trail31 follows the Lewis river climbing gradually along the “out” part of the ride.