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TR216D Abraham's Trail s(u)

The ride to the Windy Ridge veiwpoint on Mount Saint Helens makes a great paved out and back ride. But in order to make this into a loop, you need a mountain bike, and then the possibilities are virtually endless. Two single track trails and a dirt road connect to the upper part of Windy Ridge. The highest one of these, is also the one closest to Mount Saint Helens. TR216 Abraham's Trail reaches a few hundred feet above the highest point on the Windy Ridge Road, which is located at Smith Creek viewpoint.

The profile tries to show two large opposite approaches, using paved roads for the lower sections. A day loop over the summit will most likely loop back to the starting point and not connect the endpoints.

01.(1090ft,mile00.0)START-END NORTH: FR25 crosses the Cispus River
02.(1570ft,mile01.6)jct FR25 - FR26
03.(2440ft,mile05.3)intermediate summit
04.(2090ft,mile08.0)intermediate low point
05.(3710ft,mile13.5)intermediate high point
06.(3660ft,mile17.1)profile turns left onto FR99
07.(3930ft,mile18.7)jct with FR380 on left
08.(4030ft,mile24.1) Windy Ridge - end of pavement
10.(4170ft,mile30.2)profile stays left and starts descend
11.(2870ft,mile34.0)START-END SOUTH: profile picks up paved FR83 at trailhead
12.(2300ft,mile42.1)FR81 joins from left
13.(1450ft,mile45.3)START-END SOUTH ALT-1: profile turns left on FR90 along Swift Reservoir
14.(580ft,mile49.9)START-END SOUTH ALT-2 Beaver Bay Park, west of Cougar



From South. The profile starts a little below, where FR26 leaves FR25, about 10 miles south of Randle. That portion is described on the FR99 Bear Meadow s(u) page. After traversing the point, labeled Norwegian Pass on some maps (not really a pass with two uphill approaches), this route turns right to continue on pavement to the Windy Ridge view point. On these final miles the road enters deeper into the blast zone of the the 1980 eruption. Whatever trees are left, are lying on the ground in a pattern that shows the direction of the blast wave. A few others are lonely remaining sentinels to a past forest. This starkness of the scenery gives the impression, that the road is climbing great heights, but it is really only the ecozone that is changing, and the road rolls along, loosing almost as much elevations as it is gains. Traversing meanders of the road serve as foreground to a ridge, that only often sheds its clouds as the day heats up.

Several view points along the road are dedicated to Spirit Lake, a lake that used to be lined with holiday cottages, when the level of the lake was still 200ft lower, before the eruption. Surprisingly now its shores are still densely filled with floating lumber. The paved road reaches its highest point at the Smith Creek overlook, where the view reaches in both directions, Spirit Lake to the north and Lava Canyon to the south. Another single track trail reaches the road here, and it can be used together with Abraham's Trail to make a (nearly) complete single track loop.

At the end of the road, just past the Windy Ridge viewpoint, a narrow, closed dirt road continues towards the slopes of Mount Saint Helens. At its beginning a map shows all the trails and waypoints along this route. The road, desginated TR207 traverses along a treeless ridge towards the volcano. The road ends quickly, and just 1/4 mile before it does, a steep single track trail, TR216D climbs a small, narrow ridge, and stays at the exact knife edge top over all its ups and downs. With each pedal stroke the view of Mount Saint Helens improves, often not only because of the higher vantage point, but also because the warmth of the day is lifting more and more clouds from it. But taking one's eyes off the trail may be a little risky.

Slowy the ridge ride becomes a traverse, still heading straight in an imaginary line for the top of Mount Saint Helens. As this becomes impossible, a series of rope steps serve as walking aid where the bike has to be pushed to the top of a ridge again. The summit is reached during the traverse that follows.

From North. (described downwards). This traverse soon ends ends on the plain of Abraham, a vast inclined plain of volcanic debris that stretches down from almost the crater. The junction with TR216, and another trail heading towards the volcano really feels like the summit, but it is actually lower than the preceding traverse.

The trail quickly exits the plain of Abraham, passing by a deep slot in the rocks below, where the trail is fully exposed. The remainder of the route,now TR234 Ape Canyon, follows a wooded ridge above the volcanic debris on a very smooth trail through dense forest. When the trail ends, it is on the "plain of Abraham" again. How can this be ? It demonstrates just how inclined this plain is. This point feels like a different world than riding "the plane of Abraham" did the first first time. But it really is only 1500ft lower than the spot that felt like the summit. That is less elevation difference, than the paved road from here looses to its low point a few miles west of Cougar.




( < FR99 Bear Meadow s(u) | Chinook Pass > )
TR216 Abraham's Trail ,  FR99 Bear Meadow s(u) , Elk Pass , additional out and back : 6.5 miles south of jct FR25 - FR99 > up FR25 > up FR99 > FR99 Bear Meadow s(u) > Windy Ridge viewpoint > TR207 > TR216 Abraham's Trail s(u) > TR216 > TR234 Ape Canyon > down FR2562 > down FR83 > FR25 east along Swift Reservoir > FR25 north > Elk Pass > back to starting point: 91.3miles with 7990ft of climbing in 8:10hrs (VDO MC1.0 m5:13.8.28)