Ape Caves & Volcano Viewpoint

An easy day hike on the south side of Mount St. Helens. The trails take you through forests, into lava tubes and to a good viewpoint. Good headlamps and a lack of claustrophobia are a must for the lava tubes.

on the trail

ape caves & lava tubes

The Ape Caves on the south side of Mount St. Helens are one of the longest basalt flow lava tubes in North America. There are 2 tubes. The lower tube is 1.5 miles round trip. The upper tube is 2.5 miles round trip with 360 feet of elevation gain to a high point of 2,450 ft.

volcano viewpoint trail

A new trail constructed in 2014 on the south side of Mount St. Helens takes you to a viewpoint for the lava flows, Ape Caves and Mount St. Helens. It's 1.6 miles round trip and 400 feet of elevation gain and a high point of 2,50 ft.


  • Bring strong headlamps or other light source for the lava tubes.  Lanterns can be rented at the Ape Caves Headquarters Center.
  • When hiked together, these two trails total 4.1 miles and 760 feet of elevation gain.
  • Consider combing with a hike to June Lake (2.6 miles, 450 feet).
  • Suitable Activities: Day Hiking
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2.6 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 200 ft
  • 2,475 ft
  • Green Trails Mount St Helens NVM No. 332S
  • Green Trails Mt St Helens No. 364

Upcoming Activities

TAC PAT - Activity - Ape Caves & Volcano Viewpoint

Youth Youth activity: Pathfinders
Monthly field trips that enable Pathfinders to practice newly learned skills.
Difficulty: Easy
Sat, Oct 22, 2022
No Prerequisites
9 participants
Registration closes Oct 20
Tacoma Branch
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Ape Caves
  • Ape Cave & Lava Tubes
  • Ape Caves & Volcano Viewpoint Trail
  • Volcano Viewpoint Trail

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