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Things to do in Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Natural Feature
“Visit The Ape Caves! The longest continuous lava tube in the continental U.S. offers 2.5 miles of dark explorations for the adventurous. Located on the south side of Mt. St. Helens, the Ape Cave was formed over 2000 years ago when lava flowed down the volcanic mountain in streams. As the lava cooled an outer crust would form, allowing the molten lava inside to continue to flow and creating tunnels. This kind of formation is unusual for the Cascade Range volcanoes, which seldom erupt with fluid lavas. amed after its original explorers and not the hairy, ape-like humanoids said to roam the surrounding mountainside, two and a half miles of lava tube remains today, luring cavers to explore its narrow passages and crawlways. Lined with stalactites and stalagmites, the cave is scattered with boulder piles and for the more adventurous climbers an 8-foot lava fall can be scaled to reach a cathedral-like skylight opening. Tales of purported sightings of sasquatch (aka “Bigfoot”) have come from the area for decades, but the tube actually received its name from the Mt. St. Helens Apes, the group of foresters who first explored the cave soon after its discovery in the early 1950’s. No evidence of habitation by the legendary giant hominids is known to have been found in the caves.”
  • 30 locals recommend
  • 3 Experiences
Park
“Part of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, The Ape Caves, Lava Tube and Interpretive Center are popular attractions in the Mount St. Helens National Monument and the longest lava tube in the continental United States at over two miles in length. The Ape Caves are located on the south side of Mount St. Helens and accessed through Woodland. Go up highway 503 past Cougar. Driving time from I-5 and highway 504 where all the Mount St. Helens Visitor Centers are to the Ape Cave is just over an hour. The Ape Caves are open year-round though the parking lot gets snowed in during the winter. This attraction is very popular with East Coast visitors.”
  • 11 locals recommend
Travel Agency
“A must see when you're in Washington " Mount St Helens". She's really quite impressive.”
  • 7 locals recommend
  • 1 Experience
Natural Feature
“Explore the lava tubes on the south side of Mt. St. Helens. Your choice of the easy trail of the lower cave or the tight squeeze of the upper cave which offers some on your belly spelunking! ”
  • 9 locals recommend
  • 2 Experiences
Natural Feature
“The volcano is located in the Cascade Range and is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire that includes over 160 active volcanoes. This volcano is well known for its ash explosions and pyroclastic flows. Mount St. Helens is most notorious for its major 1980 eruption, the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States.”
  • 6 locals recommend
  • 1 Experience
Park
“I personally have not ventured to the Ape Caves trailhead but the locals rave about this...do your research if you are in the area and go make the trip!”
  • 1 local recommends
Point of Interest
“This is about a 2.5 hour drive from us but it is one of the best spots to see Mt Saint Helens. ”
  • 3 locals recommend
Park
“So much do to from this site. Hike Spirit Lake or Hike the Volcano, Windy Ridge. Enjoy the indoor displays and view the crater.”
  • 1 local recommends
Natural Feature
“This is a day trip. I recommend staying at an Airbnb in the area to enjoy it more and not feel rush.”
  • 2 locals recommend
Museum
“Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument -- the official visitors center built on the ridge where David Johnston, USGS volcanologist, radioed that he was witnessing Mt. St. Helens collapse in the largest landslide in recorded history.... and where he perished moments later. The views of the crater are stunning, and a 9-mile hike will take you into the crater atop the debris -- to the limit where the public is allowed to travel. Ascending the Sasquatch Steps, a waterfall pours out of the crated into the debris field. Pumice stones the size of your head lay scattered about the pumice fields (because of the air pockets, you can toss them about like softballs). Nothing beats the night sky!”
  • 2 locals recommend
  • 1 Experience
Park
“A beautiful hike around a geologically unusual canyon. Also, an amazing suspension bridge that may not be for everyone.”
  • 1 local recommends
Travel Agency
  • 2 locals recommend
Point of Interest
“Also, Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, Beacon Rock, Bridge of the Gods to Cascade Locks, Bonneville Dam, Mt. Hood, The Oregon coast, ”
  • 1 local recommends
Establishment
  • 1 local recommends
  • 2 Experiences