11 miles
1,809 ft
-3,274 ft
Avg time
Trail Supporters, Builders & Maintainers of Smith Creek Trail

Smith Creek Trail Details

  • Riding area
    Mt. Saint Helens
    Cougar, Washington
  • Difficulty rating
  • Voted Difficulty
    Blue (1 vote)
  • Trail type
  • Bike type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
  • Direction
    Both Directions
    Popular direction shown
  • Climb Difficulty
  • Physical rating
  • eBike Allowed
  • TTFs on trail
  • Global Ranking

This is an epic ride especially combined with Ape Canyon-Plains of Abraham.
Not sure if an out and back is worth it, just ride the loop!
Park at the bottom next to the river and grind out the 3000' ascent to the Plains. Continue north and work your way to the visitors center and main road. The trailhead for Smith Creek is only a mile or so north east of Spirit Lake overlook.
The descent is fun and full of volcanic sand, super loose controlled slides. It may be more set up when wet.
It's an adventure and there is minor route finding involved.
Bring water or a filter and be prepared for a wilderness adventure.

Access Info

Park at Ape Canyon trailhead to do the full loop and be ready for the 1500' ascent at the end of a long ride back to the car. Or park at the river and get the long climb out of the way.

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Smith Creek Trail mountain bike trail
  • Altitude change
    -1,465 ft
  • Altitude min
    1,708 ft
  • Altitude max
    4,334 ft
  • Altitude start
    4,331 ft
  • Altitude end
    2,867 ft
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    5 miles
  • Distance down
    6 miles
  • Distance flat
    626 ft
  • Avg time
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
on Aug 24, 2018
Very Dry
Avg: 3 (4 votes)

view (44)
Layers winter
Trail Style
  • ?
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Directions to smith-creek-trail trailhead (46.258210, -122.116850)
update trails status or condition

Smith Creek Trail Trail Reports

Aug 24, 2018 @ 9:24am
Aug 24, 2018
Upper Smith Creek has some blowouts / washouts on the traverse out to the initial switchbacks. Once down the descent trail is in good shape. A...
Aug 12, 2018 @ 9:39am
Aug 12, 2018
Dry and loose. Lots of brush. Desperate need of clearing. Narrow trail with drop offs and over grown brush make for an interesting ride. Still...
Jul 21, 2018 @ 3:03pm
Jul 21, 2018
Small tree down across trail, can ride over or around Large tree down across trail, blocking trail Overgrown vegetation, the first bit is pretty...
Jul 9, 2018 @ 9:22am
Jul 9, 2018
Overgrown vegetation on the first half of the descent, but I found it fine after that. If you're used to riding Smith Creek, I would keep riding...
Jun 16, 2018 @ 10:08pm
Jun 16, 2018
Limbs down EVERYWHERE, almost 80% of the trail is overgrown. Watch out for missing signage if going towards ape Canyon and beware of the WRONG...
view all reports »


more »
149 |
Jun 12, 2017 @ 7:57pm
Jun 12, 2017
Smith Creek Trail, Portland
131 |
Apr 13, 2017 @ 8:45pm
Apr 13, 2017
Smith Creek Trail, Cougar
136 |
Apr 13, 2017 @ 8:45pm
Apr 13, 2017
Smith Creek Trail, Cougar
539 |
Apr 17, 2016 @ 5:44pm
Apr 17, 2016
Smith Creek Trail, Amboy

2 Reviews & Comments

  • + 0
flag sanfret NWTA (Aug 20, 2017 at 19:21)
 If you are starting at the Ape Canyon trailhead to start this ride you will make your way to the Windy Ridge viewing area. You will then follow the paved road to past the Smith Creek viewing area. Continue until you see the Smith Creek Trail trailhead sign on your right.

The first half mile is lose gravel, overgrown shrubs (trying to push you off the cliff) and a sheer cliff to your right. After that enjoy the ride.

In a couple of places the trail crosses the river. There are no official markers. Look for bright marking tape (bright pink) to tell you where to go.

The last three miles are up the old FS road 83. You will be directed up the road by a small blue detour sign. This is the correct way to dump you out right at the Ape Canyon trailhead.
  • + 0
flag rm7freerider (Sep 27, 2017 at 19:54)
 Great ride, used it to make a loop, but Smith Creek is a great trail in its own right. Lots of cool swoopy turns. Not as steep as the end of plains of Abraham where it drops out, but riding in the opposite direction would probably be a bear, not impossible except for a few hike a bikes, but it'd be a long day.

Post a Comment

You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login


more »
Some Smith Creek
1:41 | 382 | Sep 16, 2015 , Cougar
  • subscribe
  • flag
  • login to download gpx or kml files.