Ape Cave Trail

#1 of 278 trails in Gifford Pinchot National Forest

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Ape Cave Trail is a 2.6 mile out and back trail that features a cave and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking & walking and is accessible year-round.

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Michael Lusk (268)

13 Completed13 Reviews

The drive was worth it. Everyone brought a LED flashlight and 1 LED lantern and we had plenty of light. Most of us wore shorts with a sweatshirt and were fine. It was cold in the caves but it was a great change on a hot summer day. A good hike without the sweat. We had young kids. The lower was perfect. We tried the upper but only made it a few hundred yards in before turning around. It could be done with kids but it will take a very long time. So we left it for another day.

Dan Algeo (5520)

106 Completed61 Reviews

very cool! head light and small flash light was what I had. get there early as it gets very very crowded

Patrick Quiambao (139)

13 Completed2 Reviews

Let me start by saying: this might be the most unusual hike i have ever done. Let me add by saying this might be the most unusual can ever do! To do this hike you will have to prepare a few things. Definitely LIGHTS. Absolute darkness through the tubes. With that in mind bring extra lights, batteries, and maybe another extra light. You can rent lamps in the station. I believe its $5 to rent. Lastly bring jackets. Ranger lady said its a constant mid 40 degrees through the cave all year round. The air moves down cave in the summer and up stream in the winter. If doing this with kids go to lower part and when with able bodies i suggest upper. Did i say bring lights?...

Kim Creel (65)

1 Completed1 Reviews

This hike was a blast! Our family of five went and we had an amazing time. My kids are 5, 3, and 5 months old and they all did wonderfully. (We did the lower path) The two older kids enjoyed taking their time and looking at all the rocks. As noted in the other review, wear long pants, jackets, and bring plenty of flashlights. For us slow pokes, it took us an 1.5 hrs to make it to the end and back. Overall, my suggestion for families with kids under the age of 5, do it! But maybe hike to the meatball and back. We will definitely be doing this hike again!

Jess Hale (38)

1 Completed1 Reviews

I went on this hike with my cousin about a week ago and this was my first time going to a cave. Inside was really neat but very dark you will need a flashlight. It can be cold in the cave so you might want to wear a jacket and i also recommend wearing pants and good boots. After this experince it really got me to want to start doing more hikes.

Vallieann M. (62)

We do this hike every year atleast once. This year we had the added fun of taking our 18mo toddler & yes we do the entire hike. Everybody has head lamps so hands are free to climb & to help others when needed. Love the hike !!

Samantha W. (120)

been through these caves twice now. still very cool

tee c (36)

1 Completed1 Reviews

OMG! We had no idea how long or how difficult this was going to be. First of all, hiking through this cave was a last minute decision that I regret making. We should have been more informed and prepared, but sadly we were not and we learned a valuable lesson. We didn't start our journey through the Ape caves until about 6:30pm last Sunday. We had nothing with us but a small flashlight. There was just the two of us, one in jeans and the other in yoga pants, with light jackets (cotton), and tennis shoes. When we first entered the cave, we saw a sign that said "Easy 3/4 mile" and "Difficult 1/2 mile". If we would have read the signs outside we would have seen that 1/2 mile was not true; it was really 1 1/2 mile. In addition to that," Difficult" doesn't even begin to explain that cave. There were walls of boulders to climb over all the way through the cave, shear walls to scale up (one with a rope to climb), and when you don't know how long this cave is, and the obstacles become increasingly challenging as you continue, it gets a little scary, especially when your one and only light is starting to dim. It seemed that this cave was never going to end and I was terrified that we would be suck in there, in the total darkness, with no food, water, light, source of heat, or even any concept of time. Every so often I would feel a breeze and think that we were almost there, but sadly we weren't. At one point we saw daylight, but that was only a skylight so far above that there was no way to reach it. After 3 hours of walking, climbing and getting pretty banged up, we reached the exit. I literally cried. Once outside, we followed the arrows which we assumed would lead us back the car. It was now after 9:30pm and getting dark. There were no other people around and the trail through the woods seemed to go forever, just like the cave. We made it back to the car just before it was too dark to see. We drank some water and got out the first aid kit for a pretty nasty gash on his leg, as well as multiple cuts and bruises. I was never so happy to see my car and I am so thankful to have gotten through the cave before our light went out. I have learned a big lesson and will definitely be more aware and prepared next time. That was probably the dumbest decision that I have ever made.

Tarah Zentz (1748)

28 Completed23 Reviews

I always encourage my friends with kids to do this! It's so much fun exploring the cave! There are two different routes you can take once you get down into the cave- the 3/4 mile easy hike or the 1.5 mile upper portion of the cave that can be a little bit more difficult and may require a helping had at times. Make sure you pack head lamps/flash lights and warm jackets even in the summer as it can be cold. I believe that you can also rent lanterns from the forest service there on site but make sure to get them back to them on time (5pm).

Garrett Colkitt (156)

7 Completed5 Reviews

The Ape Caves are an absolute blast, it can be packed when busy, but other than a lack of solitude it's a great adventure through a lava tube.