Washington caves are made from fire and ice. Ape Cave is North America’s third longest lava tube and is located just South of Mt. Saint Helens, an active volcano. At the other end of the temperature spectrum is Big Four Ice Caves in the North, about 70 miles from Seattle.
Ape cave is the third longest lava tube in North America at about 2.5 miles long. It lies just South of Mt. Saint Helens which erupted in 1980. Lava tubes are formed from lava flow but this cave was formed long before the last eruption, about 2000 years ago. It was discovered back in 1947 by a logger. It got its name from a Scout troop who were the first people to explore it. The Scout’s sponsor was a group called St. Helens Apes, so they named it Ape Cave.
I was at this cave years ago. Unfortunately I don’t have any good pictures to show you but the webpage at the link above has a video that shows a little bit of it. I hope to visit there again in the near future so I can give you a first-hand account and some nice photos.
Big Four Ice Caves
Big Four Ice Caves are located in the Northern part of the state in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. They get their name from Big Four Mountain where they are located. The ice caves are seasonal because they are formed from falling ice and snow. They usually only appear in the spring and summer and change from year to year.
While the hike up to the caves is very pleasant, you do not, under any circumstances want to go inside the caves. These ice caves are formed from melting ice and a lot of heavy ice can fall down from the roof at any time. People are injured and killed in these caves all too often. Also be aware of the possibility of avalanches if there is still snow and ice higher up on the mountain.
While you can’t go inside to explore, these caves are still spectacular to see from a distance, as is the surrounding scenery. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Pick Your Washington Caves Adventure
Caves in this state are quite an adventure to see, whether you like them hot or cold. From the remains of ancient lava flows to the ever changing flows of frozen water, there’s something sure to please you.