Ape Cave Viewpoint Trail

Mt. St. Helens National Monument

This work party starts at 8:30AM
Sat, Jun 01 to Sun, Jun 02, 2013

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The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is expanding recreation opportunities as part of its five year strategic investment plan. WTA is building a new trail that links the Ape Cave Trailhead to a scenic vista featuring the volcano's southern flank. With help from the Mount St. Helens Institute we aim to complete the 1 mile trail by fall of 2013.

Ape Cave was discovered in 1951 by Lawrence Johnson and first explored by Harry Reese and his sons. The Reeses were members of an outdoor club called Mount St. Helens Apes. Hence the name, Ape Cave, a bit disappointing for those envisioning Bigfoot's den. There are two different routes of exploration inside the cave, plus an above-ground trail connecting the main and upper entrances. The lower cave is the easier and more popular route with its fairly level, mudflow-covered floor and unique features such as the "lava ball" wedged in the ceiling. The upper cave is for the more adventurous. This challenging hike climbs over large rock piles, scales an 8-foot lava fall and requires good balance and sturdy shoes.

Driving directions:
From I-5 take exit 21 at Woodland, WA. Drive east on State Route 503 for approx. 30 miles to the town of Cougar. Continue east out of Cougar, shortly there after the road becomes Forest Service Road 90 at the Skamania County line just past the power canal. From the Power Canal Bridge, head uphill for 2.8 miles. Turn left off FSR 90 onto FSR 83. Drive 1.8 miles and turn left onto FSR 8303. Continue another mile and you're at the parking lot of Ape Cave Trail.

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GPS coordinates are only approximate, please always use the written driving directions when trying to find a trail head


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