Ape Cave Trail

MODERATE 181 reviews

Ape Cave Trail is a 4.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Cougar, WA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

4.6 miles 541 feet Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

views

wild flowers

old growth

rocky

no dogs

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.

hiking
12 days ago

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

12 days ago

20 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

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

23 days ago

best hike yet

25 days ago

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.

30 days ago

1 month ago

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 !

1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

Pitch black hike, bring headlights. Amazing hike, very rocky at some points, minor climbing here & there. Super fun.

1 month ago

ape caves were awesome. Very very cold. one way is a dead end and the other there is some spots u have to crawl through. done it twice one with my youngest who's was 3 at the time

1 month ago

Great trail. Highly recommend going through the the upper ape cave. This part is quite difficult due to rock mountains needed to be overcome and also a couple rock walls needing too be climbed. Overall, a great experience, would go again.

hiking
1 month ago

First time in a cave but it was fun, scary, tiring and exciting all at the same time. Its cold and dark so be prepared. One also need a good pair of shoes with all the rock navigating. Love it!

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

super fun great place to go with friends

backpacking
2 months ago

Go to the upper cave, it is more difficult but much less crowded. Bring a headlamp!

2 months ago

2 months ago

Very cool hike. It's pretty chilly down there so be prepared. It's absolute pitch black so bring head lamps, flash lights, and extra batteries! My husband and I did the shorter version first and it was very easy- great for the littlest of kids. We then turned around and did the longer portion. A ton of climbing over rocks and squeezing through spaces. Overall very nice!

nature trips
2 months ago

The Ape caves are a wonderful and unique place to explore. The temperature in the caves seem to be the same year round. Due to weather conditions, the road to the caves is often closed during the winter. Be sure to take flashlights and backup batteries (headlamps work best). You don't want to get deep into the cave and have no light source. Do not go if you have an issue with small spaces/ claustrophobia. Wear good shoes with socks, long sleeves, and pants. You will inevitably bump a knee, slip on a rock, run into mosquitos, and it's not warm in there even if it's hot outside. Lots of fun, great place to take out of town/state visitors.