Routefinder's special. Start with 2000' ride down from Windy Ridge into Smith Creek (trail 225). Look for 6' tall "telephone poles" along the Smith Creek trail. Its 8 miles total from trailhead. Make sure to take the poorly marked (if at all) gravel road uphill (right as heading downriver)where the Smith Creek trail becomes doubletrack. Climb 1500'on gravel road (trail 184 unmarked) to Loowit trailhead (trail 234) then climb 1500' to Ape Canyon. Return to car at Windy Ridge are via Plains of Abraham trail (trail 216, 216D, then 207). Note that tiny streams you ride over along Plains of Abraham are huge feeders into Smith Creek. In 1997 4 groups tried (JZilly, STM, Me, and Flint) and one successfully found route (Mark Flint's Oregon group). USFS worked on trail in 1998 after John Zilly included route in guidebook. Be prepared! My first attempt with my wife took 9 lost hours ('97). Flint's tip to me was: make sure you stay on east side of Smith Creek for a while. We struggled to stay on the West side following flagging which was incorrect. The 6' "telephone" poles mark the entire Smith Creek route. Last year was 5-6 hrs with no hurrying. Some technical areas (single to double black diamond), but very short. My wife Jenny had no complaints about the amount of "extreme" riding. We both enjoyed this natural and unique route in Washington State.
If you come from the Portland/Cougar side you should simply start with the 1500 foot climb up the Loowit Trail and you'll finish with the 1500 foot road climb after you finish the Smith Creek Trail.
Advanced due to routefinding issues and the fact that folks are trapped and have to climb back uphill 2000 feet once they drop down into the Smith Creek Drainage.
How to get there:
From Seattle Go to Randle then Windy Pass. Park at Smith Creek Trailhead. From Portland to to Cougar then Loowit Trailhead.
Season: August-September. Smith Creek is too high to cross before August (trail crosses. Green Trail