The Ape Cave

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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.

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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.