Thursday, December 2, 2021
Dec. 2, 2021

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Ape Cave to reopen May 18 with new reservation system


Located on the south side of Mount St. Helens, the popular Ape Cave Interpretive Site will reopen to the public on May 18.

The site was closed to the public in Spring 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to implement a toilet replacement project, according to a press release from the U.S. Forest Service. It has remained closed since.

When Ape Cave reopens, visitors will be required to get a timed reservation ticket in advance of their visit.

The forest 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, according to the press release.

Reservations are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May 18 through Sept. 30, and cover a two-hour time period.

Timed reservations tickets can be obtained through in advance. Visitors will only need one ticket for each vehicle visiting Ape Cave during the reserved time slot. Seventy percent of the timed reservations tickets will be available as of 7 a.m. April 29. The remaining reservations will be made available on a rolling basis, three days in advance of each calendar day. This will provide visitors more flexibility with short-term trip planning, according to the Forest Service.

Timed reservation tickets are free, though there will be a $2 service fee.

Timed reservation tickets will not be for sale at Ape Cave, but may be purchased up until the first hour of a two-hour ticket window. Due to limited cellular coverage in the vicinity of Ape Cave, some cellphone users may experience poor or no reception on site.

In addition to a timed reservation ticket, a Northwest Forest Pass, Interagency Pass or Day Pass are required to visit Ape Cave. Passes are sold online or through local vendors. Day Passes are also available on site for $5, cash or check.

For more information call 360-449-7800 or visit