We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.


Ranked #1 of 12 things to do in Longview
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Formed about 2,000 years ago from a volcanic eruption, this is one of the longest lava tubes (12,810 feet) in the world.
La Center, Washington
Level Contributor
41 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2012

Lots of fun for kids and adults alike! Bring your own headlamps or you can rent a lantern. This is one of my boys favorite hikes! Their is a fee for Parking, but it is worth it.

1 Thank J D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

178 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
32 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Wonderful Adventure”
Reviewed August 21, 2012

I hiked/clambered through the Ape Caves with my son and we had a great time. We did both parts - the lower, much easier and shorter cave, which can be done even by small children and the upper part, which is quite difficult and strenuous. I would not recommend the upper part if you aren't in decent shape and definitely not for small children. It involves quite a bit of climbing over large rock piles and scaling of one about 8-10ft wall. The caves are not touristified, so they are completely dark and cold - bring plenty of lights and warm clothing - rain gear is also good, the caves are damp. We used a headlamp and I liked that very much, since you have your hands free for climbing. You can rent lanterns there and they are sufficient for the lower caves. The lower caves take about 1hr to walk both ways, the upper part takes about 2 hours until you reach the exit hole with the ladder.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank soccermom415
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
217 reviews
151 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 578 helpful votes
“Better Than Hawaiian Tubes”
Reviewed August 11, 2012

We had only one day to spend in the Mount St. Helens area and had to choose between the viewpoints to the north of the park or this cave area to the south. We ended up going to the cave, and I am very happy that we did!

We have hiked in several lava tubes in Hawaii and were still very impressed by this one. It is far larger and longer than the Hawaiian tubes and the upper part of Ape Cave includes some good scrambling action.

We usually wear hardhats when caving but decided not to bring them on this trip. For the most part, Ape Cave's ceiling is very high above you and you won't have to worry about your head. There are a few small sections in the upper part of the cave that will require more care if you don't have a hardhat, but the cave route can be completed safely without one. If you intend to go quickly, you might want to bring a hardhat after all, as you will likely bang your head.

There is one particularly challenging part of the upper cave that requires you to scale an 8 foot wall. When you get there, look for a foothold on the left side of the cave wall (facing the obstruction). You should be able to use this foothold to push yourself up above the wall. Your knees will likely get a little dirty in the process. If this sounds too strenuous, you might want to consider hiking in the opposite direction so you can just slide down the wall.

As others have mentioned, be sure to wear warm clothing and bring extra sources of light if you intend to hike the upper cave. Our clothing was quite dirty at the end of the hike and my camera ended up covered in mud. It might not be a bad idea to bring a change of clothes.

If you have more energy after completing the cave hikes, head over to Lava Canyon and hike to the suspension bridge. Also consider a brief stop at the nearby Trail of Two Forests, where you can see the lava molds left over by burnt-out trees.

Visited July 2012
4 Thank kasejason
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kampala, Uganda
Level Contributor
64 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Don't miss it!”
Reviewed August 9, 2012 via mobile

This is a full day activity if you hike both the upper and lower chambers. The lower chamber is a good 1+ hour walk to the end and back and the upper chamber is a challenging 2+ hour scramble and climb and leap to the end. Both chambers are cold so wear a coat or sweater (5 degrees Celsius). The upper chamber really needs good shoes as the boulders are precarious to climb.

We rented the gas lanterns at the info centre for $5 each and they worked just fine but if we do it again, having headlamps would make the upper chamber that much easier.

We entered the upper chamber from the same entrance as the lower chamber and reached an 8 foot flat wall of rock that we were able to climb thanks to a group of young men who were helping pull people up. If they hadn't been there, we may have had to turn back. It may be easier to enter at the other entrance at the end of the path and then to just have to slip down the wall. We'll try that next time!

I recommend leaving your camera in your car for the upper chamber. I would have smashed mine on the rocks trying to climb over them. Don't do the upper chamber if you have small children!

Thank China_Kimmi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Mt St. Helen's hike”
Reviewed August 9, 2012

This is an awesome hike! The temp in the caves is 42 degrees, and you will love that while you climb over boulders and up walls with the help of the climbing rope. Bring a headlamp, NOT a flashlight as you want your hands free.

Visited August 2012
1 Thank IrelandGirl1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Ape Cave Lava Tubes also viewed

Washington, United States

Been to Ape Cave Lava Tubes? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing