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Ape Canyon Trail

Difficult
 4.7 (6)

A climb up the base of Mt. St. Helens.


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Map Key

4.6

Miles

7.4

KM

Point to Point

4,187' 1,276 m

High

2,875' 876 m

Low

1,569' 478 m

Up

256' 78 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Views

Because of its height abbove sea level, this trail accumulates a lot of snow. You'll have access to the trail as early as June (when snow generally melts), however it's not officially opened until deemed ready by the Forest reserve. You can check the status here: fs.usda.gov/recarea/mountst….

To park here you need a Northwest Forest Pass which you can purchase online or on location (near the Ape Canyon Cave).

Description

You can park right in front of the starting point. The trail is 100% singletrack that gradually takes you up the southeast side of the volcano, Mt. Saint Helens to the junction with Loowit Trail. You'll occasionally get openings with gorgeous views across the plains, a devastation spurred by its eruption in the 80's. Views are pretty unique as you'll see the direct path of the lava flow down the volcano.

Once you get near the top, you'll leave the forest and head into ashen volcanic plains (marked as the ending point on the trail). You'll have an amazing view with some of the Pacific Northwest's tallest mountains surrounding you. You'll of course have Saint Helens in front of you, however depending on the visibility you can also have a clear view of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams all from this point.

Contacts

Shared By:

Nick Alvey with improvements by Alice Pence

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 6 votes

#5306

Overall
  4.7 from 6 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#221

in Washington

#5,306

Overall
42 Views Last Month
710 Since Aug 22, 2017
Difficult

0%
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17%
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83%
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Photos

It looks like a glacial moraine, but it's actually a mud/lava flow from the 1980 eruption.
Jul 22, 2019 near Amboy, WA
Lunch spot at the Ape Canyon trail junction with Snotel station in view
Oct 13, 2019 near Morton, WA
Getting up close and personal views of Mt. St. Helens from the Ape Canyon Trail.
Aug 22, 2017 near Morton, WA
Lava Canyon Mt St Helens Area 07/17/16
Jul 4, 2017 near Amboy, WA
Ape Canyon Trail.
Aug 22, 2017 near Morton, WA
Ape Canyon Trailhead.
Aug 22, 2017 near Amboy, WA

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Check-Ins

Jun 10, 2020
John Victor
Oct 12, 2019
Alice Pence
the views were worth the switchbacks 9.7mi — 3h 17m
Aug 3, 2019
Connor White
This was a very well-maintained trail with excellent views! We slept along here on our first day and then hiked to the monument building our second. 4.6mi
Nov 24, 2018
Michael Moy
Oct 24, 2017
Felicia Harger
Favorite trail on St. Helens. Dry trail, carry extra water. Brings you to Loowit Trail. 9mi — 3h 40m
Sep 8, 2016
Andrew Parise
Jun 19, 2015
Cameron Booth
Forested early part is pretty dull, but totally worth it once you emerge into the blast zone at the top: an other-worldly scene. 9mi — 6h 00m