This year, my bikepacking trip at Mt. Saint Helens went along the northern bikeable boundary, which is in the Mount Margaret backcountry. I had scouted the Norway Pass trailhead to be open to bikes on my bikepacking trip last year, and this year I called the monument headquarters to verify that the Boundary trail westwards to the Coldwater visitor center is indeed open, where my ride would pick me up. A couple good maps are here and here. Trails that I rode / pushed were: Green River -> Strawberry Mountain -> Boundary -> Coldwater -> Lakes.
I had helped with the Lakes trail cleanup last year, but could see that its in need of some more TLC in the botany 101 area. However, a lot of work had recently been done on the Coldwater trail up to the saddle overlooking the Johnston Ridge Observatory – thanks!
To summarize: It’s basically a fairy-tale land up there. I stopped to take pictures so many times, and still felt like I should have taken more. Of course, many pictures looked quite similar in the end so I left them out of the slideshow below which still has 80 pictures. Campsites in this area must be reserved in advance, but with minimal planning-ahead I was able to stay at Bear Camp – which seems like it must be one of the best. I had unbelievable views of a herd of mountain goats including a screaming baby goat, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Saint Helens. I am so appreciative that these trails are open for bikes – thanks Mount St. Helens Monument managers! Of course, there were lots of dismounts and pushing on the trails and I only took a few pictures of that, but the slow pace seemed more appropriate for enjoying the fragile and beautiful landscape. I hope these trails will stay open to responsible mountain biking for a long time to come.
Here’s a GPX track of Mount Margaret Backcountry trails that would make an awesome overnighter. All decent singletrack, some HAB of course, with a short connector on a paved FS road. I left out painful stuff (i.e. upper portion of Green River to Strawberry Mountain and Strawberry mountain itself).
Click on one of the images to start the slideshow at that point.