With all of the beautiful nature and foliage that our state has, it’s easy to be focused on what’s above ground with us. 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 this summer.

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

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

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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!

Where: Crawford State Park

Cheese Cave

 

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These days climbing into this cave sadly will not reward you with cheese, although in the 1800’s it would have. This section of a 2,060-foot-long lava tube was once used as a refrigerator by the Guler Cheese Company due to its naturally chilly nature. Today, you can climb down a ladder and explore it for yourself.

Where: Trout Lake, Washington

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

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 ticketing info before heading out. Additionally don’t forget proper lighting and layers because it’s dark and cold down there!