Ape Cave Trail is a 4.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Cougar, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
From Vancouver, WA, north on 1-5 to Highway 503, exit 21. Drive east 35 miles to Forest Service Road 83. Turn left and drive 2 miles to Forest Service Road 8303. Turn left and drive 1.5 miles to the trailhead on the right.
This is a really fun hike! There is an upper and lower cave that vary in difficulty but neither is very difficult and an amazing experience. A little further north is the suspension bridge that I highly recommend checking out as well!
absolutely loved this! amazing adventure I suggest if you don't have children to do the harder corse. it is an amazing workout and extremely fun just be careful of your footing ! we have gone 3 times now and wanting to go even more
I wouldn't bring kids under 10 in the current weather conditions, plenty of snow about 2 feet, really had to look for the blue diamonds on the trees that lead you back to the parking lot. snow parking permit pass is required which cost us 22 dollars for the day at the deli in Cougar. the self service at park still had 5 dollars listed as the price since we went there the first day of snow. boots above ankle and headlamps with extra batteries strongly recommended for the cave.
first of all, the photo with the suspension bridge belongs at the Lava Canyon Trail not Apes Cave. Misleading content. I completed both today. The caves are amazing and you should check it out. the upper caves may require a bit of additional assistance for non experienced hikers.
Loved this hike did it late yesterday so it was dark walking the trail back but they have reflectors on tree to find the trail back. Did lower first then upper. Even my 5 year old daughter did it. Would do this hike again.
loved it did it bareback
It was very nice but hard I would do it again though definatly haw bright lights and I would not take kids if you have to carry them!!!
Great hike. Headlamps are a plus so you can have your hands free to climb over the many rock pile obstacles. The lava wall and a couple of really tight spaces to get through made for an awesome experience. I've never experienced complete darkness until this. It wasn't as crowded on the day/time we went and if you turned off all your light sources, you could not see the person standing next to you. Would do this again for sure!
What a fun experience! Our kids 11 and 7 really enjoyed the caves. The upper was a little more than our guest was willing endure. It intimated her with a giant pile of boulders you had to walk over so we have already planned to go back next year. Just like everyone else says.. head lamp are a must.
Cant wait to do this again
great experience and one you cant get in most hikes! definitely a must do early when there are less people. bring headlamps! 150 lumins work the best
best hike yet
Definitely worth it. Make sure to have a source of light, warm clothes and good shoes. Lower level is easy for kids but upper level involves plenty of climbing up and over rocks. Overall really cool cave and much to see.
A unique and must experience hike, especially the harder upper part of the cave ! Bring a long sleeved shirt, jeans or other pants as its 50 degrees constantly and in some areas a little breezy so even colder. Bring a backpack for water, a small first aid kit, highly recommend headlamps for hands free scrambling on around large rocks and boulders as there are plenty of them ! Also bring batteries for headlamp and a extra flashlight with extra batteries too because it's pitch black inside - when you get inside switch off your lights for fun and you'll see what I mean by pitch black ! Also remember this is a popular hike and is frequented by people and rangers so if your lights went out you could still wait till someone came along.
Also I can't stress enough to bring ankle supporting shoes with good grip as there is A lot of scrambling to do and you don't want to slip and get an injury in there !
There is a 8 ft wall that you will need to get up but there is a foothold on the left side with good gripping above to grab with your hands to pull you up, there was no rope there.
Watch your head in spots as there are narrow parts to the lava tube.
There is a skylight almost to the end which is a nice place to have a photo and snack break.
There is a sturdy metal ladder that extends out of the cave at the end.
The hike back is nice as its all down hill- it took us about 2 hrs round trip.
The lower part of the cave is very easy but you still need to watch your step as its a lava tube with uneven ground and small kids can take this part of the cave.
I look forward to going on this hike again
I used the black diamond headlamp which works for 40 hrs and it worked great. 250 lumens was perfect ! I hope you enjoy this hike as much as I enjoyed it !
Lots of fun. The eight foot step up at .8 miles (upper canyon) was easier than I imagined. Super positive left foot at the right height helps a bunch. There are plenty of rocks to work your way through but nothing difficult. Watch your head!! I stood up too quickly once and that hurt. Super dark. I used a petzl headlamp on flood and hand carried a second one for added light. Lots of berries right now on the return trip to the trailhead.