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Ape Caves

Photograph of Ape Caves

Meetup time at 512 P&R: 7:00AM

Departure time: 7:15AM

DIRECTIONS: From southbound I-5, take exit 21 (Woodland exit) and keep going straight at the end of the ramp, continuing on Pacific Ave.  Turn left onto WA-503 and continue on this road towards the town of Cougar.  When 503 bends to the south, stay on SPUR 503 to reach Cougar.  Past Cougar, keep going straight and the road will eventually turn into Forest Service Road 90.  Turn left on FS Road 83, and then FS Road 8303.  Park at the Trail of Two Forests Sno-Park.  The Ape Caves are about 1 mile on snowshoes further down FS Road 8303. It is about 2.5 to 3 hours one way between Lakewood and the Sno-Park.

REQUIRED PASSES: 1 Sno-Park Permit per vehicle. 1-day ($20) and seasonal ($40) Sno-Park Permits can be purchased at REI in Tacoma and Olympia, as well as at several stores in Cougar (such as Lone Fir Resort, 16806 Lewis River Road [SPUR 503], (360)[masked]). You can also buy a pass online at https://fortress.wa.gov/parks/ecomm/sno/dsnostp0.asp (you print out your receipt and display it on your dashboard). Note: The Northwest Forest Pass is not accepted at Sno-Parks.


HIKE DETAILS (courtesy David Turley): 1 mile of snowshoeing plus 1.5 miles of caving in the upper lava tube, one way; 2 miles of snowshoeing plus 3 miles of caving, round trip. The main entrance to both upper and lower lava tubes is one mile north of the Trail of Two Forests Sno-Park. The easier LOWER lava tube is .75 mile one way. It can be hiked down and back in an hour. The more difficult UPPER cave or lava tube is 1.5 miles long and takes 2.5 hours to complete. The upper lava tube requires scrambling over 27 boulder piles and an 8 ft high lava fall. In the summer, the hikes are a one-way trip followed by a hike through the forest to get back to the parking lot.  Because of the snow, a forest ranger said the UPPER cave would be a 2.5 hour hike going up and coming back through the cave. Because of the round-trip he doesn't recommend we do it, but it is up to us if we want to make the round trip in the upper cave. (2.5 hours).

Check out these websites for more info:

+ {http://www.mountsthelens.com/ape-caves}

+ {http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mountsthelens/recarea/?recid=40393}

+ {Ape Caves — Washington Trails Association}

*Additionally, for up-to-date info, call the Ranger at 360|449|7800

 

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT: Ten essentials, snowshoes, and AT LEAST TWO LIGHT SOURCES (e.g. flashlights, headlamps) PER PERSON.  Prepare for winter driving and hiking conditions.

March 20, 2013 UPDATE: Sno-Park at Trail of Two Forests (where we'll be parking in the vicinity of the Ape Caves) is open with 2 feet of snow.  Bring snowshoes! However, it should be okay if you don't have snowshoes. Those who do will make a path for you.

Weather forecast (as of 3/21): "A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 38. Light west southwest wind. Little or no snow accumulation expected."


DRIVERS / PASSENGERS:

Chuck Martin (can carry 4 passengers): Has a Sno-Park pass

Lorri (can carry 3 passengers):

Cristi (4 passengers):

Neil (3 passengers): Has a Sno-Park pass

Hannah (3 passengers): Has a Sno-Park pass

John H (3 passengers?) - Olympia

The GPS coordinates for the Sno-Park are:[masked],[masked]


Contact Info:

Neil - cell (203)[masked]  [yes, CT area code]

Chuck Martin - cell (425)[masked]

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  • Mike T.

    AWESOME photos everyone! Thanks for leading Chuck and Neil! Great job!!! :-)

    1 · March 25, 2013

  • Richard G

    I had a great time hiking though the tunnel, so sorry we three from Olympia got so far ahead of everyone else and missed a lot of the camaraderie. Did everyone make it through, it was quite an obstacle course? Rich

    March 24, 2013

    • Chuck M.

      Yep. Everybody made it out. Some found it a bit challenging, but they did it!

      March 24, 2013

  • Archie

    What a great time, THANKS.

    1 · March 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks, all of you, for your kind and gracious help all day, and at the end of a long day, again,too. The tow truck got there earlier than expected and I am home safe and sound. You guys are the best.

    3 · March 23, 2013

    • Lisa H.

      So glad you made it home safe!

      March 24, 2013

    • Karen

      You did awesome! We hoped the tire incident would not take away from the enjoyment of the day leading up to that! Look forward to next adventure and challenge with you and the great group! Cheering you on! xo

      March 24, 2013

  • Lisa H.

    I had a great time at the Ape Caves with all you Trailsiders! Thank you to everyone for the great teamwork getting all of us up the walls and over the rocks. I continue to meet wonderful people in this group. It was fun having dinner with you and getting to know people better.

    1 · March 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    What a great day of exploring with wonderfully helpful & fun people! Just goes to show you what "Team effort" really means! Many thanks to Chuck for leadiing this...great job! Kelly....thanks for letting us know you made it home safely, your a real trooper...you really challenged yourself & reached a goal...Iyyy...Yiii...Yiii.. to you!
    It was fun getting to know about everyones passions, at dinner!

    1 · March 24, 2013

  • Karen

    Great adventure,! Upper cave was perfect challenge of climbing. But most of all it is who we share these moments with and our group ROCKED! Since saw alot boulders and rocks I feel rocked is perfect description of the wonderful time shared with our great group! High five to all of you and thanks for sharing around the dinner table. XO.

    2 · March 24, 2013

  • Pat D.

    Good. But I hooked up with the wrong group. Turns out they were an outfitter from Portland. Had some wine at the top of the upper Ape Cave.

    1 · March 23, 2013

  • Neil

    More strenuous than I thought it would be but a great calorie-burner and loads of fun nonetheless. Many thanks to Chuck for being a very organized, patient and supportive host! Many thanks to Julie for letting me borrow her flashlight when mine was being sad. Also, the level of teamwork displayed by everybody in the group when helping each other get over the big rock wall and the "meatball" was extremely inspiring.

    3 · March 23, 2013

  • Julie L

    Had a REALLY fun, challenging day!! Made some great memories with some wonderful new friends and precious old friends :) Thanks to all!!

    1 · March 23, 2013

  • Charlotte S.

    Totally kicked my skinny little butt. Think I need to know more about difficulty before I sign up for hikes.

    1 · March 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I agree with Karen (!)...Iyyy...Yiii...YIIII...!!!...hehehe!
    I will have passengers Karen, Julie, Maryjane, & Lisa.
    Maryjane & Lisa..remember to expect strange behavior & odd noices, or is it odd behavior & strange noices?!?!

    March 22, 2013

  • Chuck M.

    The weather forecast hasn't changed! It looks like we are a go.
    We're getting better on drivers. With Charlotte, I think we have enough (cross your fingers!).

    March 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am hoping to go still, illness has put a damper on things past 2 weeks!
    I have 4 more people that are riding with me at this point.

    March 21, 2013

  • Chuck M.

    So far, the weather is looking favorable. There is only a chance of snow on Saturday. I'll keep you posted.
    We have 40 people going, and we need to set up some carpools. Please let Neil or I know if you are willing to drive. At present, only Lorri and I are driving from Lakewood. John H is driving from Olympia.
    Note that each vehicle must have a Sno-Park pass. This is *NOT* the same as a Discover or Northwest Forest Pass. The passes cost $20, which is only $5 per person in a four-person carpool.
    Tomorrow, I will call the ranger station for current conditions, and I'll let you know what I find out.

    March 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking forward to meeting everyone

    March 9, 2013

  • Charlotte S.

    Did this many years ago and loved it.

    February 26, 2013

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