Jul 07, 2012
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Ape Canyon
- Region: South Cascades -- Mt. St. Helens
- Agency: USFS Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
- Trails: Ape Canyon (#234)
- Avg Rating: 2.50
- Be Aware Of
- Snow on trail
The trail plunges straight into shady old-growth forest, on a sustained upward grade, steady but not challenging. A couple of viewpoints offer peeks at the Big Lahar Flow, otherwise, early views are limited. After a few miles, as the trail jogs from one side of the ridge to the other, views begin to open up to the west with in-your-face looks at Mount St. Helens or wide vistas north and east encompassing Mount Rainier, the Indian Heaven and Goat Rocks wildernesses, and Mount Adams. The trail all the way to the head of Ape Canyon and its signature slot is completely snow-free; a few mosquitoes buzz around looking for snacks.
Emerging above the trees onto the Plains, the Loowit trail is dry and completely exposed. Bring sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water. There are a few dabbling runoff streams, but don't count on these as they're mostly cloudy with ash particles. On this weekend, the wildflowers were not yet blooming, but on previous trips, there have been vibrant patches of wildflowers—especially lupine—that speckle the barren slopes with dazzling colors; perhaps in a couple more weeks.
This is a popular mountain-biking trail, so be aware, and exercise courtesy and allow them the right-of-way.