“A short run with a big payoff of crawling through a lava tunnel! Or stay on the lovely boardwalk if you prefer.
— Emily Roeben
Northwest Forest Pass Required; best times to visit are April - November. Stay on the boardwalk except where signs indicate the cave crawl. Flashlight recommended for crawl.
Users should clean their shoes at the trailhead shoe cleaning station to ensure protection of bats in the area.
According to the large trailhead sign, this land of lava walks through ancient forests captured in stone.
Users will follow an ancient lava river that spilled down the flanks of Mount St. Helens nearly 2,000 years ago. Along this loop trail, you'll travel through both an old forest, now cast in stone, and the vibrant forest that now stands tall that has grown from the blank basaltic lava. The old forest left both horizontal and vertical casts (holes) in the stone when it was overtaken by the lava flow.
Halfway through the trail, you'll see signs for 'the crawl,' where adventurous folks can leave the boardwalk and descend 8 ft into the ground by ladder through a vertical cast left by an ancient tree. This cast connects to an 80 ft long horizontal cast that is just large enough for an average adult to crawl through. The crawl is dirty and can be hard on the knees (and the top of your head if you aren't careful). It is very exciting for kids and adults alike. Parents should crawl through first to judge if it is suitable for their children.
Ancient forest casts (holes) in stone, evergreen forest, re-vegetation over ancient lava flow. Interpretive signs along the trail inform users of the unique features that will inspire and delight.