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“Bring BIG flashlight”

Ape Cave Lava Tubes
Ranked #2 of 13 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.
Reviewed July 9, 2018

We went early arriving at 8:00AM when they had just opened gates and were glad we did. It took us a few minutes ti figure out where we were supposed to enter cave because there really weren't directions on signs.
We chose the easy route thru lower cave. It is extremely dark and we had small flashlights so we went back to car to grab headlamps. Boy did we need those. It was not a difficult walk but there were some places that you had to pay close attention to your footing due to rocks on ground. Truly awe inspiring and we took our time enjoying. After we came out we saw the parking lot had filled up and there were many families with small children so we we lucky that we had gotten to experience the quiet marvel by entering early.

Date of experience: July 2018
Thank Mary B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"hiking boots"
in 20 reviews
"sturdy shoes"
in 18 reviews
"ape cave"
in 39 reviews
"foot wall"
in 12 reviews
"warm clothes"
in 11 reviews
"bring a flashlight"
in 7 reviews
"extra batteries"
in 5 reviews
"upper part"
in 5 reviews
"difficult route"
in 3 reviews
"upper entrance"
in 3 reviews
"dress warmly"
in 3 reviews
"uneven ground"
in 7 reviews
"walking stick"
in 3 reviews
"rain jacket"
in 4 reviews
"parking pass"
in 6 reviews
"great adventure"
in 8 reviews
"long hike"
in 5 reviews

26 - 30 of 284 reviews

Reviewed July 6, 2018 via mobile

If you are looking for a nice break to your usual mountain forest hikes, this is the place. We walked the lower cave and really enjoyed it, probably even more because we got there early (10am) and missed the family crowds.
You definitely want to bring your flashlight, solid footwear and a jacket for the ladies. It's not a very challenging walk but the terrain gets very uneven at times and can be challenging for folks with weak ankles or other foot ailments.
Overall a great experience worth the drive.

Date of experience: July 2018
Thank petersL9423DU
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2018 via mobile

Overall, the experience was unique and enjoyable.

Below are some key notes which are helpful to know ahead of time:
-There is no opening/closing time to the caves, but the visitor center closes at 1700.
-There is no lighting in the caves—after the first 50 meters, everything is pitch black. Flashlights are a must (we just used our iPhone flashlights.
-There are no restrooms inside the caves. We took the lower cave trail (just shy of 2 miles round trip) with our kids, the youngest of whom was 3. They all did fine throughout. If the trail had been longer, the lack of a restroom would have been a problem.

Date of experience: July 2018
2  Thank r4mbler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2018

I see a lot of people go through the caves completely unprepared. The caves are magical - the third longest lava tube in North America. The upper cave is challenging but rewarding. For those who are looking to go through the upper caves, I would recommend the following: wear a good pair of closed toe shoes such as hiking boots or tennis shoes. The temperature in the caves is a constant 42 degrees, so be prepared with layers, and just take them off it need be. Bring lots of flashlights, preferably those that are head lights, as you'll want your hands free to move around the boulders and rocks. I wouldn't recommend hand lanterns because again, you'll want your hands available to you. Please do NOT bring your toddler. It is not appropriate for a small child to go through here. Make sure that you're looking up as well as straight forward as you're getting through boulder areas - sometimes the cave ceiling is closer to you than you think, and many have smacked their head on a rock on accident. Some people may want gloves it can be cold and somewhat damp in the caves. Bring plenty of food and water for emergencies. Also, if you don't think that you are in physically fit enough shape to do this - please reconsider. There is an 8 foot wall that you have to scale, along with many huge boulder piles - you're going to have a full body work out. Even if when you're driving up you see loads and loads of cars parked along the road and are considering giving up and parking there and walking up, don't. Many people come and go to the parking lot, and I would highly recommend driving all the way up to the parking lot to make sure there isn't a place to grab first. Make sure you have a parking pass.

Have fun!

Date of experience: May 2018
2  Thank Erica I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 3, 2018 via mobile

This was a unique experience, and we enjoyed it overall, but the upper cave is hard. 27 boulder piles, and 1.5 uphill miles of uneven terrain. After pile 5, I was done. Even one of the kids was done after 10 or so. Get there early. We arrived at 10, and there were only a few people there, but when we came back to the parking lot at 1pm, all the overflow parking was full and there were people everywhere. The crowds would most definitely take away from the overall experience here.

Date of experience: July 2018
Thank chrisgY4968XY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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