Explore take pictures - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

take pictures  Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Just did this trail today. It was my sister and my 2 children ages 11 and 8 and they loved it! We did Ape Trail that was above ground and once we got done we walked back and then went underground. I’m not sure which one we did I’m seeing a lot of posts where people say they did the Upper Cave area but crawled and we didn’t crawl at all. It was an open area cave but pitch black. I used a head flash light and my cell light and my kids had their own lights as well. We didn’t finish the cave trail due to my son sprang his ankle . The terrain is very unsteady so watch your step. Other than that it was really fun and awesome. I’m definitely coming back but more in the spring or summer time. Happy Hiking!

Definitely a lot of potholes on Pilchuk Road, but the hike and the lake were beautiful. There were maybe 15 cars in the lot when we got there around 11 on a Saturday, but the trail wasn’t crowded by any means. You warm up hiking in the forest but it definitely gets cold when you’re at the lake and don’t have the tree cover. Like others are saying, the boardwalks along the lake were frosty but it was manageable. There was some snow at the lake (not on the trail itself) and the lake was iced over a bit. We saw a lot of younger children in rain boots that definitely were not enjoying themselves because there are a lot of rocks and tree roots that can be difficult to navigate at times.

Amazing old growth trail. I agree with the moderate rating because of the elevation gain and the difficulty of navigating the trail. Roots and rocks can be a big problem if you don’t pay attention. The reward at the lake is well worth the effort. Beautiful even on a cloudy day! I had the trail and lake to myself today. I ran into 4 people on the way down. I will return to this trail in the summer I am sure it’s even more stunning!

Ice last on north side out of sun
Still quite doable

I'm only giving this trail a 2 because I took a wrong turn. Missed the lake trail completely, so, I can't really rate the lake trail.
The trail we did walk was well traveled and clear.
Heads up, you are supposed to have a Discovery Pass to park at the trail head.

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
6 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.

Nice quick day hike. Go early to avoid crowds.

Close to town. Good views and easy parking.

hiking
8 days ago

Wet, slippery but beautiful! Waterproof shoes a must! Beautiful and frosted ground at the lake.

backpacking
11 days ago

Hiked this with my son in September. This is a great hike for all ages and levels.

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.

hiking
15 days ago

Went today in the rain, pretty good rainy day hike with a lot of tree coverage. However, there are lots of rocks/roots that get slippery. Several different streams to cross and a good bit of time walking through water, having waterproof boots is *highly* recommended. 2-3 cars when we arrived around 9:30, but was full as we left around 11:45. The gravel road had a lot more potholes than we expected, doable in a basic car, but going slow + dodging was definitely key.

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
21 days ago

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

Great hike. The trail had a good amount of people when I went and was in good condition. Pretty easy to follow. There is definitely some good gain most of the way, so you'll get a nice thigh/butt work out! I enjoyed walking on the ridge at the top to the opening at the end and being able to see the town and mountains all around you. You could definitely see the falls colors in the mountains scattered here and there.

hiking
21 days ago

hiked this about month ago and the trail was not hard the climb to buckhorn lake was long switch backs but well worth the hike just for the views

We randomly woke up Friday (10/26) morn and decided to head up! It was really warm here in Arlington! Got to the trailhead at 9am and reached the peak at 11! As we slowly (so many terrible potholes)descended up the road it started to get very windy and the fog was so irie! The different landscapes were so beautiful and the trail very wet, we pretty much walked in water the whole time but no big deal! The saddest part was this was my first time and the fog never cleared and covered the whole view :( We were alone all morning and didn't see another group till we were half way down, then we passed 4 more groups all clumped up! Overall it was a perfectly irie October day, but I will be going back on a clear day to see the view I missed!

Great hike. Views are spectacular

easy walking trail

hiking
23 days ago

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

it was breathtaking

hiking
25 days ago

It was amazing trial ,worth spending time and beautiful scenic view !! everyone should visit and have fun!!

hiking
25 days ago

It was amazing trial ,worth spending time and beautiful scenic view !! everyone should visit and have fun!!

Did this hike today, Sunday 10/21. The trail is in great shape and I could not experience and iced rocks as reported before. The NF-4200 definitely has quite a few and big potholes. I drove over carefully but you better plan 30-45min for the last few miles on the dirt road to the trailhead.

Temperatures were awesome. Did it all around in a t-shirt and it was mostly on the warmer side.

I recorded 4.75km one way from the trailhead to the fire lookout at the top.

Don't forget your Northwest Forest Pass;)

Amazing hike! Feeling my muscle pain now) I read and expected rocks on top, but didn’t know that it’s almost rock climbing. There wasn’t snow.

Beautiful autumn foliage along the trail. The trail is in good shape. Signs of the previous fire everywhere. Nice view of Leavenworth on the top.
It's still quite hot in the afternoon when the sun is hitting directly. Not much shade.

hiking
27 days ago

Pretty easy and relatively low incline hike with flat and wide trail! Easy to get to and a great lake view from the top, nestled into the mountain peaks. I wanted to swim by the rocks were kinda sharp and didn’t want to cut my foot. Did this in August.

Easy walking trail.

Easy trail to access. It’s also very well maintained!

Load More