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Did the upper caves (the challenging ones) and absolutely adored it. It gets a bit challenging in some parts but I wouldn’t consider it very hard. I enjoyed all the way.
I would recommend wearing a nice coat since the temperature is Lower downt there and definitely two sources of light (head lamp and flashlight will do) some light gloves might be helpful as well and I wouldn’t take kids younger than 8 or 9 (not only for the physical part but the fact that it’s completely dark and might find it scary)

By the way, you will need a permit in dashboard of the car to park in the lot.

hiking
4 days ago

Did both caves. Did this hike without hiking baby. And I would never do this with hiking baby. Helmet is a good idea for upper trail. Recommend 2 sources of light. 1 for use 1 for backup. You do not want to be in the upper cave without light. Rope is installed for 8ft climb. Was completely alone on upper cave. Honestly not smart to do upper cave alone. Learned my lesson on that one. I am a big guy and there is a lot of tight spaces. But I did it with a camera bag and backpack. Was alone for most of the lower cave.

Beautiful place to both hunt and just walk/run around. It's very easy-going to maneuver through for both experienced and inexperienced folk and a place I always enjoy visiting.

It was beautiful trail inside and out. We had our 1 year old son on my husband's back and were able to do about 95% of the cave until it was just too small to crawl through with a child on your back. the terrain is a but rough for a child under 4 to walk. We loved it.

Sweet and short trail. Very peaceful.

Super easy hike. The lower cave is very roomy and it’s a clear path back and out. It was a surreal experience as a first time cave-goer. My only complaint is that a duo near us had clearly been disregarding the signs not to smoke cigarettes in the cave. Without the side of fresh air, it felt like we were walking through an ashtray most of the way.

We went to the side of the upper cave. We reached a point where it seemed like it ended, so we turned around. When we were finished and left the caves and referred to the maps...we realized we hadn’t pushed on far enough and there was more to the upper cave. Will definitely go back to try it out.

Good lights- yes...I went cheap on a headlamp and it wasn’t quite bright enough for my liking

It was quite wet and drippy in there...a raincoat was nice to have.

Good, sturdy shoes. The ground is quite uneven.

hiking
19 days ago

Fun hike, went backwards starting from the upper caves. Completed 10-14-18

hiking
21 days ago

I ran through the cave basically... really wired if you know what I mean.

hiking
26 days ago

didn’t expect to do this underground cave today because we didn’t have proper lights. we were just going to hang out by the entrance to take pictures, but got so excited and amused by the scenes that we decided to carry on the upper (more difficult) trail using our iphones as lights. highly suggest using head lamps as you want your hands free. it’s flat rock at time, but there are a lot of boulders you need to climb.

i liked entering through the main cave entrance and taking the ground trail back to the parking lot. if i did it vice versa i would’ve probably been more uneasy taking the cave back.

it was my first cave experience / hike, but overall, i highly recommend.

started the trail late than we wanted to, so we were racing against the sun. trail is pretty scenic and you get different views of your surroundings the higher you go — spirit lake, mt adam, mt rainier. saw two deer throughout the whole hike.

we took a wrong turn and made a left at the split towards the top of the trail. there was signage (from 2017) saying that the trail to the right was closed because of washouts, but we should’ve ignored it and continued on to get the full view of mount st. helens. the trail we took (to the left) sort of just... ends — with only a partial view of mount st. helens.

i’d go back to explore trail right next time i’m in the PNW

hiking
28 days ago

It was beautiful and really great views! The trails are kinda confusing, there are a lot intersections and no signs until you get to the caves. Caves are really cool!

Awesome experience! I’ve never done a subterranean hike and this was absolutely amazing. It wasn’t too crowded today. I went al the way back on the lower trail until I belly crawled to a point where my brain said enough! I did a small portion of the upper trail as I soon realized my knee injury didn’t approve. I will return and finish that tho. Again. Amazing! But please please please bring a headlamp or flashlight. Saw a few iPhone users and it just didn’t cut it.

I loved these views!! Went yesterday and arrived at 3pm and made it to the campsites by 430 or so. It’s an easy hike that goes through tons of beautiful fall foliage, and at this time all the leaves are smelling and crisp and like autumn rain! The sun was out and I got amazing views of Spirit Lake, St. helens, Rainier, Adams, and Mt Hood. It was crazy!!! Wish I could’ve made it to the top. Planned to camp there and completely forgot drinking water and discovered it was a dry trail. Had to turn around once I ran out. So pack a ton of water, and wear sunscreen! I’m definitely coming back to this hike. I loved that we didn’t go through many trees, because that meant open sky and views pretty much the whole way. I used directions from the WTA website and they helped so much. There’s a lot of junctions and sometimes it can be confusing. Print something out beforehand and make sure you know where you’re headed.
Forest roads along the way were paved for the most part with some random yet kinda common cracks and potholes. like really bad ones. They’re not gravel roads, but it looks like the road split in half, maybe due to the eruption of St. helens? Some of the paved roads are cracked and caved in so just drive slow. All vehicles should be good.

Kids had a blast. My kids are younger so we stuck with the lower caves. But, I would love to come back at some point for the upper section. Definitely worth while for everyone to explore. Bring good lights and back ups.

You can just go rogue in the caves with a headlamp it was absolutely sick

hiking
1 month ago

great hike

Random dude sleeping in cave, easy hike and quite interpretive!

Pretty hike. Crystal clear water in falls and river. Went later in day and light thru trees was beautiful.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice easy trail with pretty views.

The views on this trail are just awesome.

hiking
2 months ago

We had so much fun on this trail! We did the harder upper cave with my partner and four kids ranging in age of 6 to 19, they all did really great! Tips: bring a jacket, sturdy shoes, long pants, and a GOOD headlamp. You want your hands for climbing. Being an extra flashlight too. I took us almost an hour and a half to get through just the upper cave portion, not including the trail back. Enjoy!!

hiking
2 months ago

This is my go to place when I want to get away from the busy life. It's not hard and at some points, you get nice views of the lake. I swam there plenty of times.

hiking
2 months ago

8.1.18 This hike is so awesome. Plenty of wild berries every where. The exposure gives you awesome views but come early. The view from this ridge and St Helens looks best at sunrise. Still plenty of wildflowers and its cool, i had a long sleeve. I didn't really encounter bugs and it wasn't crowded. Plenty of time for myself. Completed in 7.5 hrs with time to eat and take pics. The ridge is narrow in some areas and gets my adrenaline going. The trail is not well marked but the trail is noticeable if you look. The ridge is fun and the peak at the tip has lots of loose rocks so be very careful if you want to venture out. I did and the photo op is epic. I am definitely coming back

hiking
2 months ago

One of the coolest experiences we've had on a hike! We did the more challenging upper cave and, while it definitely took some careful navigating and agility, it was totally worth it. We would have been in rough shape without our sturdy shoes, headlamps, and gloves (not so much for warmth, but to protect your hands as you'll be using them to steady yourself A LOT).

hiking
2 months ago

Fun hike for adults and kids! Chilly in the cave, make sure to bring jackets.

Did the lower part of the trail, at the east shore of the lake. It was a very secluded trail in the forest. On a very sunny weekday in August there was nobody else on the trail. The trail was shaded all the way. You can get glimpses of the lake here and there, but most of that part of the trail is in the dense forest. It was a very nice workout, because the trail keeps going up and down the whole time, and yet it is not too steep. There is a boat launch on each side of the lake, for boating and kayaking. The west shore also has a very convenient and quite big drive-in campground with three loops and several flush toilets. Loop A of the campground operates on a first come first served basis, loop B takes prior reservations, and loop C offers a parking lot, walk-in camp sites as well as lakeview yurts. The campground offers good shade under the trees. In August there were quite a few mosquitoes. There is fishing at the lake, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of fish. There is a panoramic overlook across from the dam, with pictures and explanations of the dam construction process. There is also a designated swimming area near the dam. A little further up the road from the dam, past the lake, there are two waterfalls. The Wynoochee Lake trailhead starts 32 miles from the town of Montesano, driving on the Wynoochee Valley Rd the entire way. The road is windy, but easy to follow, paved, and not busy at all.

hiking
2 months ago

So beautiful and peaceful! The perfect length and difficulty. If you go on a cloudy day be prepared to not see Mt. Saint Helens in all its glory.

This review is partially tinged with PTSD, but feel it necessary. I did this route 08/25-27/2018 and while it started great from the trailhead, when we reached Whittier Ridge fog rolled in and we missed the connection to the Lakes trail at the north terminus. The trail is VERY poorly marked, and instead of staying at Shovel Lake as our group was permitted, we were turned around and spent two days at Snow Lake trying to find the Lakes trail and not finding it; again because we were in the wrong place.

Also, if you have any fear of heights, THIS IS NOT the trail for you. The ridge is VERY difficult and treacherous for an acrophobe like myself. Lastly, if you miss the turn as we did, and countiue on what looks like the trail, at the end as marked on here (before reaching Lakes Trail or Coldwater Lake Trail) you will hit an incredibly dangerous washout with ropes. DO. NOT. CROSS.

Avoid this hike if the weather is anything but clear. On the hike out, as a last ditch to get home, we went back across the ridge in clear skies. The views were insanely beautiful, but without fog the heights were even more of an issue for me.

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