Tacoma Explorers Hike

Field trip: Explorers

Tacoma Explorers Hike - Ape Cave & Lava Tubes

Tacoma Explorers go for a hike!

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Easy
  • Casual
  • Mileage: 2.8 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 200 ft

Tacoma Explorers go for a hike! In lieu of spending a weekend out in the desert, we're headed to the Ape Caves to go hiking through the  lava tubes. Please bring  a rain jacket or weatherproof shell as well as layers to keep warm inside the lava tubes. Other gear includes backpacks to carry personal food, snacks and any other supplies needed for a day out, good shoes or boots with non-slip soles and a headlamp.  

We'll be meeting at the Trailhead at 1000 and taking off to hike from there!


From I-5 exit 21, travel north and east on State Route 503 (Lewis River Road). At 23 miles from the freeway, continue straight on Spur 503. At 31 miles, Spur 503 becomes Forest Road 90. Cross a bridge over a canal, then 2.6 miles later, turn left on FR 83. Travel 1.7 miles then turn left on FR 8303. Travel the final mile to the parking lot and Ape Headquarters Center. The parking lot has room for 50-60 vehicles, including bus and RV spots. There are vault toilets and garbage cans, but no drinking water. When it’s open, Ape Headquarters Center offers rental lanterns.

If the road is gated at the Trail of Two Forests junction (e.g. early in the season), you will have an additional half mile or so to walk, depending on how close you can park. A Sno-Park permit is required from December 1 through March 31, a Northwest Forest Parking Pass for the rest of the year.


Ape Caves & Volcano Viewpoint

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Contact instructor for complete equipment list

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