Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

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.

Nice view of the mountain

hiking
15 days 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!

hiking
20 days 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.

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
22 days 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 3 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.

on Ape Cave Trail

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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!

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
3 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.

hiking
7 months ago

I think the idea of hiking this trail was more attractive than actually hiking it. It was dark 90% of the time during my hike there. There were maybe 3-4 cool spots worth checking out but that's about it. If you like cave-hiking, then this would be for you (not really my thing). And like pretty much everyone else say, bring headlights and wear sturdy shoes!

hiking
7 months ago

Long lave tube hike--remember to bring high-quality flashlight! Pay to park so bring cash.

7 months ago

One of my must do trails when visiting the Northwest. Trails suitable for all with the upper cave being more advanced. Upper cave offers some fun rock scrambles and a few other obstacles such as a lava fall. Lower cave is really forgiving and allows all levels to enjoy the strange enviorment. Bring good lighting so you can see all the wonders or you can rent a lantern at the trail head. Lights, Camera, Sweatshirt and you're off!

7 months ago

Awesome/ beautiful place to explore caves. Having headlamps would be better so you can use both of your hands to climb up and down the rocks, but flashlights work too. Once you reach the end of the cave you’ll be on the other side and you just walk back to the beginning of the cave which is the entrance/exit. You’ll be surrounded by trees and walking on old dry lava which is pretty cool. There will be flags around to direct you on the right trail.

Very cool. Highly recommend a head lamp, gloves and good sturdy shoes. The 8ft wall has one foot hold, it's a bit tough but if you can't get up it your hiking partner might be able to give you a boost. I would rate it on the difficult side of easy not moderate.

8 months ago

Upper caves review: HARD. Wear a headlamp you will need both hands to help you climb and scale the MANY rock piles. 8ft lava wall you will need assistance getting up unless you are an experienced rock climber/bouldering person. Helpful to have good balance and steady footing otherwise I imagine it would take longer to complete trying to find your footing throughout. We completed the roughly 1.5 mile trek in about 1 hour and 45 min. Stopping a few times for rest and to take in the amazing views of the caves. No pets, not good for small kids, was a hike to remember for sure!

We really enjoyed this hike. See my recording for more details.

hiking
8 months ago

Very cool trail! It is definitely cold inside the caves, so bring a sweatshirt. Also a headlamp is a must!

hiking
8 months ago

I took my son and two nephews on to Mount St. Helens on Saturday, September 22nd, 2017.

The parking lot for Ape caves was completely full as would imagine it is on every weekend during the summer.

There's a shop that sells souvenirs and rents lanterns for your cave exploration experience. I recommend the use of a headlamp so your hands are free to assist you as you will soon be walking around and scrambling over several boulder fields in the cave.

That being said, this is the perfect place for an alternative hike when summer temperatures soar as the cave is said to maintain a steady 42°. It's an experience everone should have at some point!

Absolutely amazing. Difficulty is moderate as you are in the dark, on uneven ground, climbing, crawling, & shinmying. It was an incredible day. We did the lower caves. Weekends are busy & take longer. You will need good shoes & a headlamp. It was 48 degrees in the caves but we warmed up quickly with the amount of work we were doing.

Not really a trail. But the information and view are amazing.

hiking
8 months ago

Bring your headlamps and watch your head! The Ape Caves are fun to explore - and you have two options: difficult and easy. Worth the time to do both.

This was a really cool hike to go on with a group of friends. Anticipate some light climbing if you go the higher route. I didn't hike the lower. Bring a headlamp instead of a flashlight because it'd be easier for you to use your hands. Definitely check out all the smaller tunnels on your way through, but be careful because mountain lions do like to hang out in caves. There are. Beautiful pieces of nature and history inside this cave!

hiking
9 months ago

Wonderful hike! Make sure you bring flashlights. No dogs, but it is still really interesting and fun. Bring a jacket too! It was around 40 degrees when we were down there.

This was a perfect little hike. We took out grandson and daughter. definitely dress warm, and a headlamp or flashlight. maybe an extra just in case.

Load More