Explore the most popular birding trails in Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 day ago

Did this as part of a 31 Mile day hike around the St Helens Monument. Very cool experience getting close to the mountain from this angle.

Honestly one of the best hikes I’ve done in the PNW. Stunning views not too crowded and the trail is in great condition. Would rate this as Moderate and not hard

nature trips
4 days ago

5 miles up, 5 down. It’s a nice smooth trail but lots of incline so be ready to work hard. Bring bug spray and a bug zapper as the mosquitoes are bad. Gorgeous views the higher you go, and at the top you will be blown away by the views. You can even continue onto more trails if you want and feel like you’re actually climbing on to the mountain.

hiking
5 days ago

The most incredible hike I’ve done this far.. Good prep for a hard hike I’m tackling next month. A must do, like everyone else said!

Loved this climb! We hiked on 6/4 and left camp at the parking lot around 4:45am. We made it back to the parking lot at 2pm. I’m glad we left early so the snow was more packed and easy to hike on. Most of the hike was pretty cloudy but the hike was still great and we got some cool views up top. Of course, the glissade was the best part. Bring lots of layers including warm gloves and a beanie. At one point it was so windy and cold. I wished I had brought warmer gloves and something to cover my face and ears. We did use our crampons once we got higher in elevation. We brought ice axes as well which we only needed to use for the glissade down.

It’s quite a ways off the highway. Interesting if you are in the area.

The views are stunning. It was quite the climb. I went in the winter so I had crampons and my friend had snowshoes. So so beautiful.

hiking
23 days ago

Though I enjoyed my experience at the ape caves I think this rating is a bit misleading. There is a lower and upper trail in the caves and I would agree that the lower cave is easy. It’s a relatively smooth walk to the end of a lava tube and back with plenty to look at. However the upper cave I would rate as hard. There are tons of rocks you have to climb up and over which is a challenge in the dark. At one point you reach an 8 ft wall that has a rope and one foot hole to get yourself up it. Then near the end there is a huge boulder with a small gap that you also have to figure out a way to get over. My friend and I had challenges at both areas and had to in the end turn back at the boulder. Also bring plenty of light sources. The trail head says 2-3 per person and I would agree. I had a head lamp and a flashlight but it was still pretty dark. Also bring extra batteries if you plan to be exploring for a while.

Attempted on 5/22/18. Fantastic views. Was a very warm day. Glissading is so much fun and the best way down.

I absolutely love the Ape Caves and the trail above and below is stunning.

Only downfall is how tourist driven this area is in the summer months.

Absolutely AMAZING! climbed it 5/13/18. Glissading was fun!

*bring sunblock!

hiking
1 month ago

I really enjoyed this (far more than I expected). We did the section with all the climbing over rocks. I did plan on returning with two nieces (ages 10 and 13) but I think I will wait a year or three to bring them to do that. I would worry about them falling but I absolutely loved it. It was wet in places and there were patches of snow on the ground when we came out the end. I also really enjoyed the walk on the trail from the upper part back to the car - great forest smells!

Loved glissading down. Way easier than Adams or Hood.

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty cool trail! The fact that you’re walking through these large channels of lava tubes is amazing. It’s nice to see the changes in height and width as you walk through as well as the draft that is created when you get to the narrow portions of the trail. Make sure you bring a couple of head lights and be prepared for it to get quite crowded.

It was absolutely amazing. I did that today 5/4/18 and it took me four hours to get all the way to the top. I started at 4:00 am and it was worth it!!!!

challenging walk in the cave. don't go alone. went in with warm water and came out the other end with nice cold water.

hiking
1 month ago

super fun! bring a good head lamp and a warm jacket it gets cold in the caves!

walking
1 month ago

You have to pay for parking and the trail is pretty busy. In some spots I had to wait 15 min for people to get through funnels in the trail or climb over certain rocks. BRING A LIGHT SOURCE.

Was very fun, VERY easy. I only gave it 4 because I probably wouldn’t go all the way there to do it again. Pretty damp, wear boots for the water puddles and such. Great little trip with friends. Bring a bright headlamp and gloves! Enjoy.

Must do hike!!!

on Ape Cave Trail

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Unlike anything I’ve ever done... make sure if you do the lower trail you are prepared to do a lot of climbing!

hiking
2 months ago

One of a kind! The road was closed but you can park and walk .8 of a mile to the trailhead. There is still snow on the trail. So waterproof hiking boots help a lot! We did the lower cave and it was very easy. We plan on returning this summer to explore the upper cave!

This was my first really big hike. I got the permit in February and climbed in July. Couldn't have done it without poles and ankle boots (for the support). I didn't need crampons or anything at this point, but I did glissade down some snow chutes and could have used an ice pick. I used my retracted hiking poles. Be very careful if you glissade - there are some chutes that lead to nowhere or off of a cliff. Definitely wear long sleeve, light weight hiking shirts/pants. I wore a tank and a light sports hoody which I took off. My shoulders burned like crazy even with a ton of sunscreen. The snow, ash, and high altitude are the perfect recipe for a burn. Part 1 was a normal, medium-level hike. Part 2 was a rock scramble that lasted quite a long time. Bring gloves for this. Part 3 was the transition from a rock scramble to volcano ash, and Part 4 was all volcano ash. You actually fall two steps back for every step you take forward. It's like climbing a sand dune but less stable! But when you get to the top, the view is so incredible and there's enough flat land to stop for a snack or meal. Take in the beautiful peaks of other prominent mountains/volcanoes in the distance and marvel at how close the planes and helicopters are flying to you!

A really unique hike. I did it solo and quickly felt it would have been a better time with a few other people. Make sure you have at least two durable and dependable head lamps. Some rock scrambling is necessary. Hiked March 6th, and it was warmer in the cave than outside, at about 40*.

it was about a year ago that I went on this trail but it is super cool and unique, very beautiful. I am a Utah residing Washington native and this is probably my favorite hike of all time. I would, however, recommend bringing a sweatshirt, a headlight, and a handheld light (per person). Extra batteries wouldn't hurt, either. I love this trail, though!

hiking
4 months ago

be sure to get a snow pass for 23 dollars which can be purchased at the local store before the trail otherwise it's a 100 dollar fine. slushy snow at the start you have to walk about three quarters of a mile to the cave entrance due to snow. cave drips from the ceiling all throughout snow is at about 3ft right now upon departing the upper cave entrance. kind of a tight squeeze here and there. hardest part of cave is a 6 ft shear faced wall you have to actually climb up. not really for the faint of heart be sure to have a fully charged flashlight or headlamp because it's a cave and its pitch black, there's an opening in the ceiling about 4 fifths of the way through the cave, thats when you know you've almost made it. to get back down the mountain follow the blue/green diamonds. enjoy be safe check for conditions and landslide information before heading out.

Wet and dark. The rock formations are nothing that special. We did the lower cave first but probably could've skipped it.

This was the best hike!! We had an incredibly clear day, sunshine all the time with crazy views. Took us 5 hours up and 5 hours down (we didn't rush down, this can definitely be done faster but we took our sweet time).
We went late October and there was quite some snow, so light crampons or some sort of traction is really helpful. We also had gaiters which helped, but I'm sure people will argue you don't necessarily need it. However, it's a hard hike and whatever helps, right? Totally worth every step though!

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