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Ape Caves & Lava Canyon – Mt Saint Helens


The Ape Caves has been on my PNW bucket list for sometime now and I am so glad we finally we’re able to do it! It was so much fun, it was about a 3 hour drive from Tacoma, add sometime if you’re traveling kids :) they will most likely need a stretch/bathroom break. Next time I’m thinking I want to camp at Yale lake, it was very beautiful! Anyway back to the hikes.

A couple tips for doing the Ape Caves during the summer;

  • Bring at least 1 light per person with back up batteries just in case. But I’d say the best light we had was the $5 rental lamp(which burns for 4 hours) from the Ape Headquarters, so check online(or call) to find out when they will be open. ‘Cause you would be surprised no matter how many people were visiting, it was still VERY dark(pitch black)!
  • We were forewarned it would be cold in the caves, honestly in the summer it isn’t that bad, Mason and I had pants and t-shirt on and were just fine.
  • Wear good walking shoes; sneakers, hiking sandals, boots, I suggest no flips flops because lots of rocks and uneven ground.
  • Always bring enough water to drink when hiking and snacks.
  • The Ape Caves is not for you if your claustrophobic, or if you have children who are very afraid of the dark. It is tunnels after all.


We had such a great time hiking both the Ape Caves and Lava Canyon. The Ape Caves was awesome; dark, cool on a hot day, a little spooky with the lights shut off, child friendly, the kids loved it even my 3 year old niece. The Lava Canyon was beautiful I’m so glad we drove the 11 miles past the Ape Caves to find it; but VERY dangerous. They had lots of signs warning people to be careful, in all the hikes I’ve done that is the first time I’ve seen those signs. So, PLEASE keep your children close and be safe yourself. Mason loved the draw bridge. The view was amazing, I would love to go back without kids sometime and just sit and enjoy the view.




Sunday 17th of August 2014

Ok have to say it there is no bloody way I would cross that bridge, I am afraid of open heights and would be too scared to even try crossing the bridge

Angie Agerter

Saturday 16th of August 2014

Great pictures!! We love Mount St. Helens, but even though I really want to do the ape caves, I am also very scared to do them because I don't do well in caves. I need to just try it. I am so glad you were able to come down and explore it though, what fun!

Wednesday 8th of October 2014

Surprisingly it wasn't bad at all, the cave height was very high. Try the "kid friendly" one, that's the one we did.