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 news release from the U.S. Forest Service.
It has remained closed since that time.
When Ape Cave reopens, visitors will be required to obtain a timed reservation ticket in advance of their visit.
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, according to the 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 recreation.gov in advance of a visit. Visitors will only need one ticket for each vehicle visiting Ape Cave during their reserved time slot. Seventy percent of the timed reservations tickets will be available starting at 7 a.m. on 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 charged by recreation.gov for processing the reservation.
Timed reservation tickets will not be for sale at Ape Cave, but may be purchased through recreation.gov if available, 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.
It is recommended that visitors ensure they have cellular coverage or internet access prior to their visit to purchase their timed reservation ticket online.
In addition to a timed reservation ticket, a Northwest Forest Pass, Interagency Pass, or Day Pass is 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 fs.usda.gov/goto/gp/apecave