Mount St Helens

Smith Creek Labor Day ride and work party

What better way to celebrate Labor Day weekend than volunteering some time to do some needed trail work?  The Forest Service would like us to concentrate our work efforts on the Smith Creek Trail, Mount St Helens.  This work party is being spearheaded by two Bike Gallery employees, Darrin Joos and David Anderson. 


Mount St Helens - Smith Creek work parties

This Sunday, August 1st, will be the first of several work parties on the Smith Creek Trail, Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument, during August and September.  Dates for the other work parties will be announced at a later date.

On sunday's work party we will be doing some as needed work hopefully as far 'north' as, or above, Ape Canyon Creek.  Future work parties will focus on sections of the trail above that point.

There will be ample opportunity to ride your bike before, during and after, the work party.  Tools needed include: shovels, loppers, garden rakes, brush saws, and if you have access to one, a bob trailer - although I have two we could use another.

We need to leave Portland by 07:00.  We can meet up in Battleground (at Fred Myers on the north-west side of Hwy 503 and Main Street - if needed) before proceeding up to the Ape Canyon Trailhead.  We'll descend in to Smith Creek on the old 83 Road.

If interested please e-mail me at ujelang at gmail dot com for a meeting time/place in Portland.  Please advise if any questions.

Mount St Helens, The West Side Story

The west side of Mount St Helens is about as different from the east side as could be expected.  It's scenic.  It's tough.  It has variety.  It's probably not for everybody.  Doing the entire 15 mile loop will involve about 3400 feet of climbing, with the toughest section along the Loowit Trail, which in my opinion is the most scenic portion of the loop, but also the toughest because of four large gullys that are subject to washouts and are hikeabike situations.DSC_0161

Ride the West Side - of Mount St Helens

Since we were unable to do this ride during Helens Fest I'm doing it on Sunday/25th!  On this ride we start at Red Rock Pass on the south/south-west side of Mount St Helens.  We ride north on the Toutle Trail and follow it, or the Kalama Ski (and bike!) Trail over to Blue Lake.  From there we climb over Huckleberry Gap and down to Sheep Canyon where a side trip will allow us to see the Sheep Canyon Falls.  From there we climb up Sheep Canyon Trail to the Loowit Trail.  We may make a side trip over to Sheep Canyon to see the wildflower display.  We'll head south on the Loowit to the Butte Camp Trail and descend the Butte Camp Trail back to Red Rock Pass.  Estimated distance is about 15 miles with about 4-5,000 feet of climbing.  This ride offers a lot of technical riding, interspersed with some buffy smooth trail reminiscent of the Ape Canyon Trail to the east.  There will be a fair amount of hike a bike on the loose debris flow below Blue Lake and up along the Loowit where there have been some recently repaired washouts. 


Helens Fest 2010 Finale!

We came from near and far to pay homage to the Mountain that rules all.


 (photo verslowrdr)

From as close as LaCenter to as far as Norway they came

Halvar, Matthew and Anders - 3 guys from Norway 

(photo David A's Photos)

 There was no sleeping in

Time to rise and shine!

photo David A's Photos

There were trails to ride

Smith Creek, Mount St Helens, out and back & work party

Due to rain on June 6th this ride was postponed.  The weather forecast for Sunday June 13th calls for sun and 80F - but I'm not holding my breath. 

The road to Ape Canyon Trailhead is now open!  It's time to ride up at the Mountain!  To celebrate we're going to do an out and back ride on the Smith Creek Trail.  We don't know what conditions await us since this will be the first ride of the season up there. 

We'll combine some work and play on this ride.  I'll be bringing some loppers, brush saws and a few other tools on this trip.  If you have loppers or brush saw bring them too!

We meet at the Powell Blvd Park and Ride - on the Max Green Line  located on 3618 Southeast 92nd Avenue (at the stop light turn east!).  This Park and Ride provides a slightly easier on/off the freeway than the Gateway Park and Ride).  Be at the Park and Ride so we can LEAVE by 08:00.  Those wanting to meet at the Ape Canyon trailhead should be there by 10A.  Parking permits are required at Ape Canyon and Lava Canyon parking lots; those can be obtained in Cougar at the Lone Fir Resort.  Please advise if interested in attending! 


Mount St Helens conditions.

As of late May 2010 conditions at higher elevations around Mount St Helens remain snowbound.  The Gifford Pinchot National Forest website indicates that roads around Mount St Helens that are above 3,000 to 3,500' elevation have snow on them.  The June Lake Snotel at 3440 foot elevation on the south side of the mountain indicates the snow pack is where it was near the end of March before our recent bout of chilly wet weather brought snow levels down to winter levels.  Currently Forest Road 83, the road to Ape Canyon trailhead parking lot, is open as far as the June Lake Trailhead, about 4.5 miles from Ape Canyon Trailhead.  We will need some warm weather before this area opens up.

Gifford Pinchot NF current conditions

After what was looking to be an early season on Mount St Helens is turning out to be otherwise.  Two weeks ago - from April 5th 2010 - the snow pack at the June Lake Snotel site was only 46 inches.  The elevation there is 3,440 feet.  As of April 6, 2010 snow depth is now 111 inches.

Current Forest Road conditions in Gifford Pinchot National Forest indicate that Road 83 is closed at the junction with Road 8303, the road to Ape Cave.  Seasonal snow plowing ended at the beginning of April for the season. 

Follow the links above to monitor snow depth and road conditions in the Gifford Pinchot.


Mount St Helens Institute projects!

The Mount St Helens Institute has a lot of great volunteer programs that help visitors to the Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument.  I encourage everyone to get out and do some volunteering on your public lands!  It's a great way to meet people and help maintain what we all appreciate.  The season's first work party in March 13th at the Monument Headquarters and it will be working on the tools we use to do trail maintenance.  There are also trail work parties on trails mtb'ers use, such as South Coldwater and Butte Camp trails.  Check the Mount St Helens Institute's website out for the individual work parties, and sign up for one or more!  You'll be glad you did!


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