Our state is full of natural wonders, many that are visible in the world right in front of us so it’s easy to be focused on what’s above ground. But it turns out that there’s actually nature equally as beautiful below ground and it’s worth exploring. Here are 5 of the coolest caves you can visit in Washington before summer is over.

Ape Cave


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No, there are no primates in Ape Cave. Rather it’s the third-longest lava tube in the nation at 2.5 miles long. You’re able to explore 1.5 miles of it at your own leisure. However, they ask that you do not touch cave walls in order to protect the delicate environment.

Where: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
When: May 18th-October 31st
Cost: Northwest Forest Pass, $5-$30

Layser Cave


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Not only is this cave cool but it’s also a major archeological site. Layser Cave was used by humans dating back as far as 7,000 years ago and was only discovered in 1982. Today you can visit the small cave after a half-hour hike.

Where: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Cost: Northwest Forest Pass, $5-$30

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Gardner Cave

Luckily for you, you can actually explore Washington’s longest cave. It’s located within the otherwise unassuming Crawford State Park and is a “500 million-year-old cavern that measures approximately 2,072 feet in length and 295 feet in depth.” There’s even a guided tour!

When: May 15th-September 15th
Where: Crawford State Park
Cost: Discover Pass, $10-$30 or free

Gueler Ice Cave


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The Gueler Ice Caves are a unique frozen subterranean world. They are located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest and are open for you to explore. They once provided ice to Washingtonians as “barges would cross the Columbia River to carry chipped ice back to Hood River.” These days they’re undisturbed but if you choose to explore make sure you wear warm clothes and very sturdy shoes.

Where: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Cost: Northwest Forest Pass, $5-$30

Lenore Lake Caves


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The Lenore Lake Caves are shallow but magnificent, a result of the great Missoula flood. You can explore seven different caves on a relatively short hike making it accessible for those not wanting a hardcore spelunking adventure.

Where: Lenore Lake, Washington
Cost: Discover Pass, $10-$30 or free

There are probably a few more caves in Washington than you expected huh? If you decide to go be sure to read up on each cave’s rules and double-check closure dates before heading out. Additionally, don’t forget proper lighting, layers, and footwear.