Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

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

*bring sunblock!

Amazing trail-- this is the only way to summit during the winter months (we went mid may and was still the technically winter). Would recommend crampons, hiking poles, and an extra trash bag to glissade down on!

Nice view of the mountain

hiking
11 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!

Loved glissading down. Way easier than Adams or Hood.

hiking
16 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.

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
18 days ago

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

walking
28 days 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!

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
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.

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!

Awesome butt kick trail

backpacking
6 months ago

It has everything! A big waterfall, lots of views of mountain ranges, adventure/ rope ascents&decents, AMAZING COLORS in the late fall! Totally underrated backpacking trip!

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.

Awesome hike but you better hope for a view when you get there. We car camped at the TH and was able to hit the trail at 6 am. I think 5 am would have been better for the next time though. The first two miles were through the woods at a nice grade providing a warm up for the tough hike to come. After popping out of the woods it endless rocks and ash. One should have gloves to protect themselves from the abrasive rocks. All you need to do now is follow the posts. The trail involves walking and squeezing through large rocks or on ash. There is no groomed trail here. The trail is easy to follow when there is good visibility as well. About a hour before the rim the wind picked up, which is pretty common. Just be prepared for the wind and some cold weather and you will be fine. There was really no snow that couldnt be avoided until the last few feet. I didnt use spikes but had them., some in my group used them though. On the descent they were more useful. Poles are a pain on the way up but useful on the way down.

I was there with a few friends and if it was summer and warmer no view wouldnt have been a big deal. Since I was there at this time of the year and it was cold and windy I am glad we had the view and not so sure I would have left the car if there was no visibility on top of the wind and weather.

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.

Absolutely stunning views! Hit the trail head about 0615 & made it up to the summit about 4.5 hours later. This climb was the most challenging yet. Mentally and physically having to push myself to keep going. So happy for the reward at the top!
I suggest some experience with outdoors and hiking and moderate physical shape to complete this. Leave the dogs and kids at home!

We did this in 2015 in a down pour & high winds. It was terrifying (for me). We made it to the summit and I'm glad I pressed on to the top!

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