Ape Canyon to Plains of Abraham Tr234

3D view of Ape Canyon to Plains of Abraham Trail 234

Overall: 10

Aerobic: 6

Technical: 4

Steepness: 6

Flow: 8

Singletrack: 100%

Ape Canyon Tr234 is a moderate climb through a series of old growth forest switchbacks, to the surreal moonscape ecosystem of the Plains of Abraham.




Avg: 17mi



Elevation Change

Avg Ascent:5300'

Ascent Incline



Avg: 2.5hr







XC Skiing

Although Ape Canyon Tr234 is not suitable for XC Skiing, nearby FR83 Marble Mountain Sno-Park has a well developed XC Ski trail system.

Area Sno-Parks

Marble Mountain Sno-Park ski trails include: 8300 Trail, 8312 Trail, June Lake Ski Tr216B, Pine Martin Ski Tr245E, Sasquatch Ski Loops #236, #236A, #236B, Swift Ski Tr244, #244A, #244B, #244C, and the Wapiti Ski Loops #245A, #245B, #245C, #245D, #245G

Loowit Trail

Plants are slowly returning but Plains of Abraham Tr216D and Loowit Tr216 are still a study in loose pumice gravel riding.

The riding season is shortened by packed snow in eroded valleys, which dangerous to cross in the late Spring.

Mosquitoes are ferocious in this area until August. Feel free to try the natural repellents, and avoid drinking carbonated drinks prior to riding, but Deet 100 may be the only protection from 'the swarm'.

This trail can be combined with Smith Creek Tr225 as an epic loop.

The Ape Canyon Tr234 TH is a good starting point for the Smith Creek Tr225 loop.

The 2.5mi long Ape Cave is the longest intact lava tube in the U.S. and worth checking out if spending time in the area.

Be sure to bring lighting and some good hiking shoes, and check the forest service website for current conditions.

Directions: NW Forest Pass required right at the TH. From Cougar, SR503E becomes Lewis River Road then FR90. Go left on FR83 then go 11mi to the TH. View Larger Map. No Map?.

Ape Canyon view of Mount Saint Helens Ape Canyon to Plains of Abraham Trail 234 Topo Map

OAB Directions

riding to the moon

Ape Canyon Area Topo Map

  • TH: The ride starts with a .5mi rooty section alongside the usually dry Muddy River drainage, followed by the first great view of St Helens and 1mi of undulating trail.
  • 1.5mi: Enter the switchback section, with a 1.5mi, 14% climb through 5 switchbacks, followed by a brief descent then a more gradual 1.5mi climb to the top.
  • 4.6mi: Reach Butt Crack, formed by the lahar flow to Ape Canyon during the eruption. This is the beginning of the Loowit Tr216 section, which starts with a very narrow, cliff exposure section which often needs to be walked. This portion of the trail is undercut by erosion and at times can be quite dangerous. If you fall, you won't be doing anything else for the rest of the day...or maybe ever. Ape Canyon
  • 5.3mi: After traversing several drainages, Loowit Tr216 reaches the top of a waterfall, with a great view of Smith Creek and Mount Adams. The drainages can have significant flow from Spring till July and should be very carefully crossed if still snow packed, due to the high risk of breaking through the snow and becoming trapped. After the waterfall, the trail opens up onto the Plains of Abraham, with a slight grade and flat terrain. Ape Canyon lahar flow crack
  • 6.2mi: Reach the Loowit Tr216 intersection, continuing straight onto Abraham Tr216D. Go through a drainage then a switchback ascent, followed by a descent to the Willow Springs Tr207 staircase and ridgeline trail over to FR9900. The ridgeline section consists of a narrow trail with moderate slope on each side, which tends to get the attention of most riders. Willow Springs Tr207 is 2mi, with an 800' ascent, and is not included in the length or stats for this ride.



Best Area Guide

Trail Index

This Ride

Abraham Trail 216D, Ape Canyon Trail 234


Independence Pass Trail 227, Loowit Trail 216, Pine Creek Tr216C, Ptarmigan Trail 216A, St Helens Climbing Route Trail 216H, Willow Springs Trail 207, Windy Tr216E

XC Ski

Kalama Ski Trail 231, Sasquatch Ski Loops Trail 236, Swift Ski Trail 244, Wapiti Ski Loops Trail 245, West Fork Snowmobile Trail 243


Trail Rankings

Ranking consistently applied to all of the listed trails.

  • Overall Rating: Ride quality and challenge
  • Aerobic: Ascent challenge
  • Technical Difficulty: Terrain challenge
  • Steepness: Average incline
  • Flow: Uninterrupted riding
  • Elevation Change: Total elevation gain
  • Ride Difficulty: Terrain challenge






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