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hiking
1 day ago

Well marked trail and a change up from the normal adventures around Mount St Helens

This hike really impressed us. We were looking for something a little bit different than the usual mountain hikes were used to, so we decided to give this trail a try. We really enjoyed that the trail was unique, in that you’re quite literally traversing down a canyon adjacent to magnificent gushing water and waterfalls. We enjoyed the views most on the lower portion of the trail, and especially loved the ladders...just got a kick out of those! All in all, we loved it and would definitely do it again!

There are 2 levels to this cave. The main tube (I think it's the lower cave) is really easy walk. We got bored with it and turned around. The other level ( upper cave) is pretty rough. The Rangers said that it is for more experienced cavers. People have had to be rescued due to concussions, broken bones and getting stuck. There's a wall that you have to climb over. Once you do that, there is no turning back and you have to continue onward. This was our first cave, so we didn't do that one. This is info that the Rangers shared with us. Have fun, but be careful!

hiking
2 days ago

SO MUCH FUN. I’m so used to trail hiking that this was such a fun break! We did the lower cave first, then walked up the hill and went DOWN the upper cave rather than up. The rock scrambles in the upper cave are so cool and tons of fun to climb up, but going DOWN there are a few 6-8 foot drops you have to get down that are a little complicated (I needed help down one of them because I couldn’t reach the foothold). USFS and NW Forest Passes not sold on site from what I could see, so make sure you buy ahead of time. I used a flashlight and the flashlight on my phone because I left my headlamp at home. Would definitely suggest a headlamp, possibly gloves, and hiking boots to make your life a little easier on the way. Also FOR SURE dress in layers! The caves hang out at about 45*F year round! Lots of bruises from the rocks but it was totally worth it, one of my favorite adventures I’ve done to date!

Fantastic trail

hiking
4 days ago

Awesome hike! We took our 5 year old and he did awesome. There were some hard parts with climbing rocks but he made it through the whole trail! I suggest flash lights, gloves for climbing the rocks and hiking boots, no flip flops.

hiking
5 days ago

hard upper caves. but worth it

hiking
9 days ago

Hiked this trail 7/7. Did the lower section first, which should be rated hard. It is not for small children, dogs, or anyone fearful of heights. I am none of those things but there were a couple of places on the trail that sped up my heartbeat!

As noted by another reviewer, several people have died on this trail, I imagine they went beyond the many signs telling them to stay on the trail. We saw quite a few people doing just that the day we were there. The ladder is tall but very sturdy. However, there is one place one the trail that is quite skinny and you also have to step up a couple of feet. Yikes!

Turned around at the bridge and back up the way we came down, then did the easy loop across the suspension bridge. The water is beautiful.

hiking
11 days ago

Multiple wonderful views of beautiful waterfalls, coupled with somewhat scary cliffs to traverse. There is plenty of solid ground at these points, the narrowest point being about a foot of trail, but it is quite a long way down. I highly recommend this hike as the environment is quite fantastic, but watch your little one's closely. If you are bringing a dog, these is a 30' steel ladder, nearly vertical, that you need to scale. Plan accordingly.

trail running
11 days ago

beautiful view. uphill, downhill, and flat terrain. easy to get to if you're in Portland. trail, stair, or road options. very dog friendly. usually occupied by a lot of other people. not a secluded area at all. great for all levels.

hiking
13 days ago

We did the whole trail. The top part of the difficult section was a little nerve racking for me since the ledge is thin and some loose dusty ground there. But it was well described.

Took us 2 hours round trip

Technically this trail is 3 modes of difficulty. You have options. The first is a paved interactive walk that has plenty of marked signage and history about the formation of Lava Canyon. It is wheelchair accessible and fairly straightforward.

The second trail is a loop. It is easy to moderate depending on what time of year you go. The trail gets slick in places. This is the portion of the trail that has the (amazing) 128 ft suspension bridge and the ladder. Its quick and I saw several families as we hiked. Kids love the suspension bridge. After the suspension bridge you can choose to go down and to the left which leads into the canyon or you can go up and to the right which continues the moderate loop you are already on.

Did I try the advanced trail? No. There is signage EVERYWHERE about people who have died because they didn't understand the risks. The third option is for experienced hikers and climbers. From what I understand it is a canyon that follows the flow of the falls. It is slick, steep, and dangerous. I know what my hiking level is. Someday I will get there. But not today.

overall the moderate Lava Canyon trail is what most think of when they learn about the trail. The views are incredible. The contrast of blackened lava and ice feed waterfalls against a cool green backdrop of forest and moss is stunning. You can see how the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's impacted the area because you are literally standing in the wake of dried lava flow 38 years later.

19 days ago

Very unique! Def make sure to take gloves and layers. It’s 40* down there. Wouldn’t recommend taking little kids through the whole length of the caves. Def a must see.

Nice wide open asphalt path, about the width of a car. Don’t know how they get 11 miles. I started at the parking lot, went to the end of the path and back and it was about 2 miles. Maybe there are 11 miles of trail total

I was out at 6 AM, after the sun came up and did not feel quite safe with the folks who appeared to live there tucked into corners of the park

It’s a beautiful trail, and I would do it again, but not do it alone at a deserted hour.

walking
24 days ago

My window got busted open. The trail was nice but not worth $253.00

hiking
26 days ago

We did the upper level and it was very interesting with climbing over boulders, up walls, and through tight spaces. Definitely wear layers as it's very cold in the caves (you can see your breath). Hiking boots and headlamps are a must. You will need your hands for climbing. Wished I would have had some gloves. Overall, a fun hike that was challenging but not too strenuous.

We did upper Ape cave using our cell phone flashlights (put your phone in airplane mode so your battery lasts). Really fun! Lots of bouldering and fun trying to figure out which path to take thru the rocks. The 8 foot wall wasn’t too difficult even without a rope. My husband helped us by giving us an extra foot hold - helped! Hike is not for those who have only walked on flat, 3 mile trails in flip flops haha! Absolutely wear hiking boots and enjoy!

Awesome !!!! Lower caves get lame because of the crowds but still cool! We did upper and was less crowded and more adventurous. We brought our 7 year old and she did great!. UPPER CAVE IS NOT HARD! Group sizes (10+) were the only problem. If u hike here in WA often u will be fine! Some boulder scrambling and balance is all that is needed! Pro tip: bring head lamps and gloves... ur welcome! Those who rate this 3 stars or below simply do not belong here. Enjoy! Please remember that this isn’t a factory outlet!

28 days ago

we did the longer more strenuous loop and it was awesome!! make sure you have your headlamp though, you'll need both hands to get along some parts of this trail.

also. wear hiking boots. I saw a girl in tevas really struggling in there. poor decision on her part.

Great for trail running! I run here almost daily. Perfect amount of incline and plenty of shade/ cover from rain or sun. Love it.

great walk, lots of shade

walking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail! The waterfall is absolutely beautiful! I’d rate this trail as moderate. Make sure that you have a good pair of hiking boots with a good grip. There’re a several sports that are a bit steep and some of the spots might have smooth, slippery rocks.
Make sure to bring a bug spray.
The hike is not that long but pretty exiting! If you’re still full of energy there’s Ape Canyon trail right next to it with gorgeous views of Mt St Helens.

The upper tube should be marked as hard! The 8 foot wall has no rope and others had to help keep traffic flowing. Small children should not be going thru this area.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 07/07/18

Fun hike. The south side trail on the river is still closed but the north side of the river is open however somewhat primitive. There are some risky spots with sheer ledges. There is a spot with a 32’ steel ladder to traverse into the bottom of one of the canyons. Might not be good for kiddos but with that said I would have taken mine.

The first part of the trail is all paved and it has a suspension bridge that was fun. This is a loop that is surely easy to navigate. Once you hike off the pavement and onto the dirt trail it gets challenging. Have fun and be careful.

A big cave lol

on Lava Canyon Trail

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked Lava Canyon last week 7/3/18. Love this hike! The upper loop is moderate, and safe for most healthy people. If you don't like heights this isn't for you.

Hiking down into the canyon should be rated difficult. There are 90 ft cliffs. People have died in this canyon. There is alot of loose rock which makes narrow stretches slick, and sketchy! A family with small child behind us turned around and left at the first one of those sections. Good idea!

There is a rock formation in the middle of the canyon that people call "The Ship". Climbing it reminds my wife of Hobbits climbing Mt Mordor, so we call it Mordor rock. The view from the top is beautiful. You can look back at the Lava Canyon waterfalls from it. Well worth the climb.

Trail is open, went on the hike on Saturday. Nice small hike and good for family

hiking
1 month ago

We only did the upper loop as the lower was still closed fathers day weekend. What a cool area!! The rocks were a little slick for any downhill and that felt sketch. Saw another couple really struggling. Dogs may not be the biggest fan of the suspension bridge. Really quick and easy jaunt though with BIG rewards

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing walk. Definitely worth it to take the long route. But make sure to bring a jacket—the cave is far colder than exterior temp.

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