Ape Cave Trail

MODERATE 282 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.

DISTANCE
3.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
465 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

views

wild flowers

old growth

rocky

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.

hiking
2 days 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!

2 days ago

6 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

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

11 days 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!

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.

hiking
20 days ago

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21 days ago

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24 days ago

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24 days ago

25 days ago

28 days ago

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.

28 days 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!

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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!

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month 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.