Ape Canyon Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Skamania County, Washington. It is within Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. It is 4.3 miles long and begins at 2,879 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,981 feet. The Ape Canyon Trailhead parking and the Ape Canyon Trailhead attraction are near the trailhead. Along the trail there are a shingle, a viewpoint, and a cliff.
"As soon as you start walking, stay straight at an unsigned junction, and you’ll get your first glimpse of the contrasts ahead when you’ve walked only 500 feet on this trail. At this point you’ll be at the top of a little bluff, looking out over a wide area of rocks. Those rocks used to be on the upper slopes of Mount St. Helens, but on May 18, 1980, they tumbled down the hill at about 45 miles per hour, part of a lahar, or mudflow, triggered when the Shoestring Glacier melted moments after the volcano erupted.
But the mudslide stayed generally within the boundaries of the Muddy River, so the forest you’re standing in—even though it was within feet of the slide— was spared. You’ll spend the next 5 miles climbing this ridge, but don’t worry: you’ll gain only around 1,500 net feet along the way." Read more
"Hike along a ridge cloaked in old-growth timber above the nearly mile-wide Muddy River lahar. Take in excellent views of the south ﬂank of Mount St. Helens, as well as Mount Adams in the distance. And marvel at the stark, tightly notched walls of Ape Canyon." Read more
"The Ape Canyon Trail provides one of the best possible places to observe and study the effects that a large lahar has on the landscape. This route climbs along the edge of the huge Muddy River Lahar, then treats you to a spectacular view down the sharply cut upper gorge of Ape Canyon—and the possibility of being entertained by the marmots that live close by." Read more
"A mile-wide lahar scoured portions of the Muddy River valley, while other parts of the canyon offer you features created by eons of erosion from floods and long-forgotten mudflows. The trail takes you in and out of several small side basins, each providing a unique thrill. Some are filled with wildflowers and ferns. Others are rich woodlands. All are alive with birdsong and critter activity." Read more
"Some of the best singletrack within extended driving distance of Portland, the ride along the Ape Canyon Trail to the Plains of Abraham starts out in pristine forest but soon delivers you to the Mount St. Helens blast zone. A classic out-and-back day ride starts at the Ape Canyon Trailhead and ascends to the Windy Ridge Viewpoint. If you’re really adventurous and enjoy unpredictability, a loop descending the Smith Creek Trail should satiate that hunger nicely." Read more