Trail #239 Ape Cave


The above ground Ape Cave Trail #239 provides an easy return route, except during the winter season, to the main entrance and Ape's Headquarters after hiking the upper cave route. Today the cave is a popular visitor attraction, with many thousands of visitors annually. Trail is 1.5 miles long.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Forest Road 8303 to Ape Cave is gated at Trail of Two Forests Interpretive Site. No pedestrian or vehicle traffic is allowed past the gate. Ape Cave remains closed.
Permit Info: Dec 1 to March 30: A Washington State Sno-Park permit required at Trail of Two Forests Sno-Park, the winter parking for Ape Cave. Permits not available on-site. Purchase online or from a vendor. No other permit required during that time.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Best Season: Summer
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: In order to protect the fragile cave environment, the following are prohibited inside Ape Cave:
  • Pets
  • Food or Drinks (except water)
  • Alcohol
  • Fireworks
  • Fires
  • Camping
  • Smoking 
If visiting the cave, please leave pets at home. Hot summer temperatures can be deadly for pets left in cars. No shade in parking lot.
Closest Towns: Cougar, WA
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Tolilets
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


From Cougar, WA drive east on Forest Road 90. Then just 1 mile beyond the Swift Dam turn left (north) onto Forest Road 83. Drive 2 miles on Forest Road 83 and turn left onto Forest Road 8303. Continue for 1 mile on Forest Road 8303 to the trailhead on the right.

Note: To protect big game habitat, Forest Road 8303 is closed to motorized use during the winter months. Plan to park at the Trail of Two Forests Trailhead and hike or snowshoe the 1 mile to the cave in winter.



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  Area/Length : 
Lower Ape Cave: 0.8 milesUpper Ape Cave: 1.5 milesApe Cave Trail: 1.3 miles

  Elevation : 
1800' - 2500'