The Ape Cave

Welcome to the Atlas Obscura Community discussion of The Ape Cave in Skamania, Washington. Ask questions or share travel tips, experiences, pictures, or general comments with the community. For the story behind this place, check out the Atlas Obscura entry:

I did the Ape Caves in 2016 with a group of younger friends. There are 2 caves. The upper cave is a much easier and shorter hike. To access the lower cave, you go under the stairwell you entered on. Dress for a cold place. No matter the weather up top, it’s 40 degrees below. You must be able to walk on slippery, uneven surfaces to get through the lower cave. I had to be pushed up the 8 foot rock wall. Glad we had tall guys with us. I did this trek when I was 66 y/o and in reasonably fit condition. There are tubes above the cave, you can climb to and through. I wasn’t up for that, but heard some teens scrambling through. At the end of the cave, there is a steep ladder attached to rock to climb out, then you hike approx a mile back to the main trailhead. There is parking at the trailhead, maintained pit toilets, and a gift shop, where you can get souvenirs, beverages and snacks. It’s a worthwhile adventure, especially on a hot summer day. Recommend getting there by 10 am. The parking lot fills quickly. These caves are part of the Mt. St. Helens National Monument.


08/31/2019 - All of beckerp49’s observations are valid, though they have confused the upper and lower caves. The lower portion is shorter and easier; the upper portion is longer, you access it by crossing under the stairs, and it requires you to crawl up a ladder to exit.

I was in the area and finally dropped in here. I’d had a long day prior exploring the glaciers on Mt. Adams’ west side, so although I slept near the trailhead, I got a later start. At 9 a.m. on a Saturday of Labor Day weekend people had already trickled in, mostly families. Still it was not overly crowded and I had many moments of solitude and total darkness and silence in these caves.