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Ape Canyon

South Cascades > Mount St. Helens
46.1647, -122.0921 Map & Directions
11.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1,400 feet
Highest Point
4,200 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Ape Canyon. Photo by Susan Saul.
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Climb through dense old-growth forest to a barren cinder plateau that bursts with wildflowers and unobstructed views. Continue reading

  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Old growth
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Wildlife

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
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Hiking Ape Canyon

Climb through dense old-growth forest to a barren cinder plateau that bursts with wildflowers and unobstructed views.

This view-packed day hike begins at the end of Road 83 near Lava Canyon. The trail climbs steadily through one of the remaining stands of old-growth forest on Mount St. Helens. As you gain elevation, wide views taking in Mount Adams and Mount Rainier open up.

The lower portion of the trail to Ape Canyon starts parallel to a wide lahar flow and climbs through one of the only remaining swaths of old-growth forest on Mount St. Helens, this with Douglas-, silver, and noble firs.

After climbing for a few miles, the trail emerges from the forest onto a wide volcanic plain that offers jaw-dropping panoramas in all directions. The glaciated St. Helens resides directly in front of you, with clear views of Mounts Adams and Rainier in the distance.

After a short distance, the trail comes to the precipitous edge of the trail's namesake rock formation, named after a possible Sasquatch sighting in 1924.

Continue across the plains of light-colored cinders. The trail ends at the Loowit Trail but by wandering north on the Loowit, you can increase your mileage all the way to the Plains of Abraham trail, with huge views of Mount St. Helens eastern flanks, where colorful summer wildflowers dot the barren landscape.

WTA Pro Tip: The Ape Canyon Train is popular with mountain bikers, who like to start at Windy Ridge and ride southward (downhill) across the plains. Be watchful for them, and step aside when you see them approaching.

Hike Description Written by
Kristen Sapowicz, WTA Correspondent

Ape Canyon

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.1647, -122.0921 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Woodland, take Lewis River Road (SR 503) east for 32 miles. Continue east on FR 90 for 3.2 miles, then veer left on FR 83 and proceed 11.2 miles to the trailhead.

More Hike Details


South Cascades > Mount St. Helens

Ape Canyon (#234)

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Nelson - Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails No. 364 Mount St. Helens

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Ape Canyon

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