“famous for the "meatball"”
Mount St. Helens Ape Cave Lava Tube is a popular attraction 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. The lower Ape Cave is approximately is .75 miles long and can be hiked down and back in an hour. It is most famous for “Meatball” - a block of cooled lava which fell from the lava tube ceiling while lava was still flowing through the cave. Floating on the surface of the lava flow it was carried downstream until it became wedged in a narrow spot above the present cave floor.
An amazing place to go with two great choices for exploring there is the "easy" way which is basically walking in a large tunnel to the very end that gets slightly smaller the deeper you go or a "expert" way that leads to an opening but you have to climb over stuff and rock scramble to get there. But it leads to an opening that gives you a fun little hike back to the entrance.
This is a great place to visit. Get ready to get some exercise.
Amazing place. I have traveled all around the country... Been to the badlands in SD Black Hills too, also Yellowstone and Mt St Helens was the place that most impressed me... Unlike anything I have seen before.
Very cool place! Worth the drive there. Take multiple light sources. Ground is very rocky/uneven. So wear good shoes.
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