Explore the most popular wild flowers 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.

nature trips
1 day 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.

Great day hike with Great Lake and Mountain View’s. Family friendly trail with little elevation gain. Not much shade as with most St Helens hikes so bring sun screen. Trailhead starts at the Coldwater boat launch and no dogs are allowed on the trail. Happy hiking. I only did the coldwater north trail. The loop is significantly more strenuous.

2 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.

Solid hike. Start at the trailhead by the boat launch, easy to find. Also, the boat launch has restrooms. The trail itself is narrow, single file for sure. Great views of the lake on both sides of the trail. at first the going is easy, flat, and family friendly. Once you cross the river, the trail ascends and the mosquitoes can be extremely intense. You ascend a ridge and eventually come to an old logging site. Take a right at the junction and follow the trail along the ridge line. You'll know you're going the right way when you see rusted out machinery. 3/4 of the trail is shaded. Trail is a 4 due to soggy conditions and the 1.25 mile walk on the road from the end of the trail back to the boat launch.

15 days ago

If you want to make the full loop, dont start with trail 212. The other end features a significant climb at the beginning, which is best done on fresh legs. The views at the top are incredible, and the rest of the way is all down hill or gently rolling. The only downside is the mile long walk between trail heads.

Trail is in great condition. Some bugs in the brush.

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.

20 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!

Hike was awesome! We went on Sunday, 13 MAY. Clear day, which made for some awesome views once you started climbing. Don’t get confused with the Coldwater Lake sign you see on the left-hand side. It is not the parking lot before for the trailhead for the hike. That parking lot leads you to nice boardwalk around part of the lake, which I clocked just over 1/2 mile. You will have to drive past that parking lot, down to the parking lot for Hummocks Trail since the road is still closed for Coldwater Lake. From the parking lot, you will have to walk around the barrier and walk on the road to the trailhead for Coldwater Lake. It is under a mile walk to the trailhead.

1 month ago

Hi friends! Sunday, May 13th, 2018 was beautiful at Coldwater lake. Flowers were juuuust starting out, with a few tiny Lupine, nice groups of Paintbrush, and beargrass shoots were working their way up. The small meadows were yet to bloom, so I’d imagine a couple weeks out it will be fantastic. The water was cold as heck even in shallow areas, but that’s to be expected.

At the far end of the lake and looking up towards the passes (opposite the trailhead), there seemed to be a moderate amount of snow on the slopes (looking up towards Snow Lake). I’d imagine if warm weather holds it won’t be too long before the little lakes up-trail will be good to go.


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.

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.

1 month ago

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

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

2 months ago

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!

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!

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