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Anyone know what’s open down around mount St. Helens? Wondering how much snow. I’m sure Smith creeks open but not sure if Ape canyons clear.
Thinking about doing that big loop. What’s the best way clockwise to counter clockwise?
 

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I was there last weekend with David Anderson doing trail work on Lower Smith. We cleared 2 miles of trail but much more is necessary. Ride it clockwise. For first time riding the loop, you could easily get in over your head early season prior to maintenance as I expect likely too many downed trees, not sure of snow on upper, and decision necessary as to whether to finish the loop via the road. I'd even suggest to do an out and back to Windy Ridge. Bring loppers for out and back, but for entire loop a portable saw would give you good karma even for small amount of trail work.

June 23 Ape Canyon Trail Maintenance Day
https://www.facebook.com/events/328916567786754/

Ape Canyon trail
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/giffordpinchot/recarea/?recid=40378
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/giffordpinchot/recreation/recarea/?recid=47014

Smith Creek trail
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/giffordpinchot/recarea/?recid=31640 general
5/25/19 NOTE: The south end of the Smith Creek Trail has suffered significant damage. Hikers using the trail from the Lower Smith Creek trailhead should be aware of obstacles including downed trees, eroded cliff areas and loose trail tread.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/giffordpinchot/recreation/recarea/?recid=47046 upper
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/giffordpinchot/recreation/recarea/?recid=47045 lower
 

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Might be a perfect time to ride Ape Canyon & Smith Creek

Since my earlier post I did 2 more full days of trail clearing (by myself) on the old jeep trail between Ape Canyon TH to Lower Smith. Round trip, my GPS says 9.8 miles with 1450 feet of climbing, mostly on the jeep trail. Since I was out-back, this means the last 5 miles is completely rideable.

I ran into 3 sets of riders who did the loop, overall they were super cheerful. One rider mentioned it was difficult to cross a creek due to route finding especially as it was their first time and it was overgrown. I also heard upper Smith Creek is overgrown but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits.

I wasn't with the Friends Of Ape Canyon group on Sunday 06/23, but I heard 30 people focussed on the climb up Ape Canyon so that portion is undoubtedly in great shape.

The two maps show my GPS tracks for completely rideable section that I cleared. The picture of a log is a log I was able to saw through using a butter knife and true grit. This log is where I called it a day, so if you see it you'll know the rest of the way is great. I was able to rock this log, but I was alone and it will take 2 people to roll it off the trail - no tools required as I sawed clear through it.

Avoid the creek crossing to the bridge by lava canyon, that is seriously eroded and closed from what I am hearing. Take the jeep trail instead.
 

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Since my earlier post I did 2 more full days of trail clearing (by myself) on the old jeep trail between Ape Canyon TH to Lower Smith. Round trip, my GPS says 9.8 miles with 1450 feet of climbing, mostly on the jeep trail. Since I was out-back, this means the last 5 miles is completely rideable.

I ran into 3 sets of riders who did the loop, overall they were super cheerful. One rider mentioned it was difficult to cross a creek due to route finding especially as it was their first time and it was overgrown. I also heard upper Smith Creek is overgrown but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits.

I wasn't with the Friends Of Ape Canyon group on Sunday 06/23, but I heard 30 people focussed on the climb up Ape Canyon so that portion is undoubtedly in great shape.

The two maps show my GPS tracks for completely rideable section that I cleared. The picture of a log is a log I was able to saw through using a butter knife and true grit. This log is where I called it a day, so if you see it you'll know the rest of the way is great. I was able to rock this log, but I was alone and it will take 2 people to roll it off the trail - no tools required as I sawed clear through it.

Avoid the creek crossing to the bridge by lava canyon, that is seriously eroded and closed from what I am hearing. Take the jeep trail instead.
We will move that log this Saturday. Thanks for the work Ken! The climb out was in great shape due to your effort. Nobody has spent more time keeping that section clear than Ken
 

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Nice work, much appreciated!

To my knowledge the bridge is stable but the trail beyond is eroded badly and a bit treacherous in a slide area. There's also a really awkward tree to get over. However, coming out that way is fun.
 

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i'm pretty sure the Coldwater Lake trail is now open to bikes. Coldwater Ridge has been for a long time, but w/ the connection of the two, a super fine loop is now ready for a great day.
so, Nitro, did you clear the trail from the bottom up? i rode it a few years ago when the growth was fairly tight to the sides until you got up above the grassy area. since you were up to the logging equipment, i take it it's good below that?
 

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i'm pretty sure the Coldwater Lake trail is now open to bikes. Coldwater Ridge has been for a long time, but w/ the connection of the two, a super fine loop is now ready for a great day.
so, Nitro, did you clear the trail from the bottom up? i rode it a few years ago when the growth was fairly tight to the sides until you got up above the grassy area. since you were up to the logging equipment, i take it it's good below that?
I was actually further up - working on the half mile prior to the trail connector the back side of the lake. We had other crews working lower than mine but there were technical difficulties with a couple brush cutters. The Coldwater work party weekend is usually the first weekend in June - this year we had about 85 people i think.

There will be another big work party in August staging out of Marble Mountain Sno park and we'll hit a lot of trails on the south side. Plus i think there will be a Pivot Demo.

Ed
 

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If you or your ride buddy lost a pair of pink Tifosi clear glasses on the Smith Creek trail, I picked em up and left em on top of the Ape Canyon TH kiosk. Is there a Portland-area MTB forum? Anyone want to repost there?
 

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We just did Helen's Fest and a week of epics after that. Ride report will be forthcoming at some point.

Huge turnout compared to a decade ago. Must have been 150 people total ?
Ken O'Bonn where were you ?

Also - the Portland people take their trailwork very seriously. And, we can also put to bed the long standing myth that they party harder than previous Helen's Fest.
 

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We just did Helen's Fest and a week of epics after that. Ride report will be forthcoming at some point.

Huge turnout compared to a decade ago. Must have been 150 people total ?
Ken O'Bonn where were you ?
Bummed I missed you. I had a personal thing that required my attention on Saturday. Only free day was Sunday so I took it easy and rode Little Bald Mountain instead. I heard there was a team working on Smith Creek, I'm excited to hear the report on that.

Kinda related, I rode Norway Pass 2 weeks ago and Goat Creek (by myself) as out and back for the first 3000 feet only. Lots of great riding on the less popular trails although Goat is kind of a push. I'm likely doing So Coldwater this weekend by myself.
 
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