Mount St. Helens was once the 5th largest peak in Washington state. Part of the Cascade Range that includes Mt. Hood, it became infamous in 1980 when a massive eruption killed 57 people, and destroyed homes and infrastructure in the region as it buried the mountains base with hundreds of feet of debris. Volcanic ash showered a wide area, with bits falling from the sky in places as far away as Oklahoma!
The effects of the volcano's frequent eruptions are readily evident, from dried volcanic mud streams, to the crater atop the mountain's summit, but the Mt. St. Helens area more than just a volcanic landscape. There is another whole world of verdant forest filled with creeks, lakes and waterfalls that lies in the shadow of this iconic peak.
And lucky for us, there is a remarkably extensive trail system that runs through this geological patchwork. We ride through deep shaded forest and along exposed ridges as we explore the Mt St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Gifford Pinchot National Forest. You'll get an up-close look at volcanic lahars and the new and different terrain created by the eruption, but you'll also enjoy serene evergreen forest complete with colorful wildflowers, magical meadows, and plenty of plenty of cold, crisp water. It is easy to see how some failed to recognize the destructive potential of this beautiful place.
We take on a moderate amount of mileage each day, but keep in mind, our routes contain lots of climbing and several of the rides include areas with steep drop-offs on the side of the trail.