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Ape Cave Near Mount St. Helens to Reopen in May, Reservations Now Required

Posted by Anna Roth at Apr 27, 2021 02:42 PM |
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The popular Ape Cave Interpretive Site will reopen to the public in mid-May, after being closed since spring 2020. When it re-opens, visitors will need to have a reservation for their visits. Reservations will open on Thursday, April 29.

The popular Ape Cave Interpretive Site will reopen to the public next month, on May 18. This site was closed to the public in spring 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to implement a toilet replacement project; it has been closed since then. When Ape Cave reopens, visitors must have a timed reservation ticket in advance of their visit. Reservations will open Thursday, April 29. 

The Forest Service is implementing this change to provide a quality visitor experience, to protect the delicate cave ecosystem and natural resources, and to provide for public safety by reducing visitor congestion in the area.

ape cave_mukul soman.jpg
Photo by Mukul Soman

Reservations can be obtained through recreation.gov before your visit, and will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a 2-hour timeslot. Visitors will only need one ticket for each vehicle visiting Ape Cave during their reserved timeslot. Tickets will be required from May 18 through September 30. Recreation.gov charges a $2 service fee for processing the reservation, but the tickets themselves are free.

Seventy percent of the total number of tickets will be available starting at 7 a.m. on April 29. The remaining reservations will be made available on a rolling basis, 3 days in advance of each calendar day. This offers visitors who prefer short-term trip planning the chance to access the caves as well.

Timed reservation tickets will not be available at the Ape Cave site. Due to limited cellular coverage near Ape Cave, users might have no poor or no cellular reception on site, so it's important to make reservations before arriving at the site.

In addition to a timed reservation ticket, a Northwest Forest Pass, Interagency Pass or day pass are required to park at the trailhead. Passes are sold online or through local vendors. Day passes are also available on site for $5 (cash or check).

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