Ape Cave Trail

MODERATE 225 reviews

Ape Cave Trail is a 3.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Cougar, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

3.1 miles
465 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers

old growth


no dogs

From Vancouver, WA, north on 1-5 to Highway 503, exit 21. Drive east 35 miles to Forest Service Road 83. Turn left and drive 2 miles to Forest Service Road 8303. Turn left and drive 1.5 miles to the trailhead on the right.

19 hours ago

The lower cave and upper cave are vastly different experiences with the upper caves involving a good deal more exertion than the lower.

We did the lower cave first, it's pretty wide and tall, with a somewhat rough floor. if you had little peeps with you or anyone with limited mobility it could be a bit of a tripping hazard. Overall cool and super easy way to see a lava tube.

Upper cave is way more worthwhile but much more intense than lower cave. It's got big rock piles for you to scramble over and lots of boulder/rubble hopping. A couple of slippery lava flows to climb up as well. No real climbing experience needed but could be challenging for beginners (like us). I would def. recommend this trail. It was a really fun hike.
Also, you HAVE to have a headlamp or similar. They sell them at the trailhead for about $15

1 day ago

Really fun hike to go underground for such a long time. I did the upper trail.

8 days ago

Lots of fun, bring a good headlamp

12 days ago

Awesome lava tube.

16 days ago

19 days ago

22 days ago

23 days ago

24 days ago

Love it

25 days ago

Did the lower cave and gave up, was a bit too boring, just a tube, cold, no bats or vegetation and overcrowded.
My friends who continues with upper cave said that that one was a bit more interesting as you have to go over some boulders, but mostly having fun friends helped. I wouldn't travel for just this, but may be nice for kids

1 month ago

1 month ago

I did the upper cave. it was kinda long, kinda challenging. Im not exactly what you would call a super in shape person, and this cave was still a task, but tons of fun. you definitely want to have a bright headlamp. boyfriend and i had headlamps, but they werent too bright. luckily we had people with us that had bright ones, making it so we could see more of the caves beauty. i am a short person, and if it wasnt for my group helping me up the 8ft, 90degree angle foot wall, i wouldnt have been able to make it up myself since the rope is no longer there. shorties will need a boost. it would be a good idea to have climbing gloves as well. the volcanic rock is sharp and was cutting my hands before i put gloves on. i also made the mistake of wearing work out shoes. theyre too flexible and the caves are WET. my shoes and feet were soaked by the time i was only a third of the way through. plus, there was snow on the outside of the cave, walking back to the car, and its super slippery. i was sliding the whole way down because of my shoes. bring snacks, youll be out for a while.
AMAZING adventure, even for beginners.
wear protective clothing (boots, gloves, hoodie because its wet and cold)
a bright headlamp is ideal, you can see more beauty!
bring snacks!

1 month ago

3 months ago

3 months ago

Did both levels with a toddler on my back the whole time...

4 months ago

5 months ago

This is a really fun hike! There is an upper and lower cave that vary in difficulty but neither is very difficult and an amazing experience. A little further north is the suspension bridge that I highly recommend checking out as well!

5 months ago

absolutely loved this! amazing adventure I suggest if you don't have children to do the harder corse. it is an amazing workout and extremely fun just be careful of your footing ! we have gone 3 times now and wanting to go even more