fun to do kids south side mount st helens washington   Travel for Kids
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Mount St. Helens - Southside

    Ape Cave – Ape Cave is a must-do with kids. It's a long lava tube, formed 1,900 years ago when lava from the volcano flowed underground, forming a long cave. It's a self-guided walk through the cave, with no lights, and kids will feel like real explorers.
Ape Cave
    Lower Cave – Even little children can easily explore the lower cave, 3/4 mile long and largely level. Along the way you'll see the "Railroad Tracks" on the cave floor – what looks like two tracks on either side is actually all that's left of a smaller lava tube. At the end of the trail is the "Meatball," a large round lava ball stuck in the middle of the cave ceiling.
      Upper cave – Walking up through the Upper Cave is a longer and more difficult hike, best with older kids. Along the way, kids will climb up a lava fall and over large boulders. The trail through the cave is 1.5 miles, and then you have to hike back to the entrance, 3 miles total.
      Tip: Wear close-toed shoes – even in the lower cave there are sharp, rocky spots. It's cool in the cave (42 degrees), so have sweatshirts or fleeces to put on. And please don't put your hands on cave walls (save the fragile cave ecology).
    Lava Canyon – On the paved Lava Canyon Interpretive Trail, climb .5 mile down to an overlook of rock formations (basalt columns) in the canyon. A short distance beyond the end of the paved trail is a cool suspension bridge over the Muddy River.
      The trailhead for Lava Canyon is 9 miles beyond Ape Cave, so it's convenient to do both the Ape Cave and Lava Canyon hike to the suspension bridge.
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