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“Have flashlight, will explore!”

Ranked #1 of 12 things to do in Longview
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Junction City, Oregon, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Have flashlight, will explore!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 27, 2013

What an amazing spot to explore. We each had our own flashlight, which is very necessary, and sturdy shoes. We took the "more difficult" route and enjoyed every minute. Actually, 3 1/2 hours from lower parking lot and back. We were in the snow, so it probably took us about an hour more than usual!! It had some VERY difficult spots, like scaling about a 7' boulder and several "waterfalls" of rocks to climb over. Very few low overhead spots, but when they are there they can surprise you! Don't miss this spot! Don't forget to stop in Couger to get your snow park permit!!!

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Stefanie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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178 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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  • Any
English first
Chehalis, Washington
Level Contributor
146 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Super fun... bring a coat and a GOOD flaslight.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2012

This is exploring at its best. Make sure you bring good sturdy shoes, a flashlight or 3 and a jacket (even in summer it gets quite cool under the ground. There are two ways to go from the enterence. Up the cave is for those in real ggod shape and maybe some spelunking experience going down hill is pretty good going but not for folks on a cane or walker.
It is called Ape caves because that is the name of the Boy Scout troop that discovered the opening. Its a a great day trip for those who live in S.W Washington.

2 Thank dallasrd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Creepy, Surreal, Beautiful and Challenging”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2012

We were here in late September (during the work week). The visitor center was closed, the parking lot was almost empty and we encountered very few people in the caves. We went twice, once during the day and then again at night a few days later. It was so much fun the first time, we had to do it all over again … at night.
The upper cave is incredible. Every “room” is unique and poses it’s own challenges for the hiker. There is a powerful smell in the moister parts of the cave – like earth, like dirt. There were bats when we went on the night hike – we were surprised by how close to us they flew. Gusts of wind suddenly come at you in certain areas. In other areas, you are in the most silent place in the world. Some of the rooms have a sci-fi feel to them. I was reminded of H.R. Giger’s Alien more than once.
The lower cave is the less memorable part, until you get to the end and have to CRAWL maybe 30-40 final feet if you want to actually touch THE VERY END.
I did fine without any gloves. Good flashlights and a coat are definitely mandatory. You may need to be with a taller person to successfully get up the 8 foot wall.
Some other reviewers have said that you need to be strong to get through the upper cave. I don’t agree – I think you just need to be sure-footed, use common sense and have the desire to leave with a feeling of mastery!

Visited September 2012
4 Thank ociel2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Center, Washington
Level Contributor
41 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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.
Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
32 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Wonderful Adventure”
5 of 5 bubbles 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.

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