Caves, waterfalls, and forests are all interesting by themselves. But mash them all up together, and you've got yourself the perfect summer adventure in Washington state. Wondering what we're talking about? It's this easy hike that'll take you to a cavern that's not only millions of years old but has an underground waterfall that'll leave you amazed by how truly magical nature is.
Located in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, the Boulder Cave Trail is an easy 1.5-roundtrip hike.
You'll need a $5/day Northwest Forest Pass to park at the trailhead. From there, a dirt path runs 3/4 of a mile to the canyon, giving you plenty of views of spring flowers before descending into the belly of the cave.
We've all been to places that are pretty old, but this one's ancient.
Formed more than 10 million years ago when a series of lava flows were eroded by Devil's Creek, the cave was formed when the sediments collapsed.
Since then, Townsend's big-eared bats have made it their home and return every winter to hibernate. During this time (September to May) it's closed to visitors. But you're free to explore it from June through August — just make sure to pay special attention to the park's special recommendations to keep the bats safe.
Because of how important it is for these creatures, it's recommended that you keep your hands off the walls, bring a flashlight, and don't bring your dogs as you tunnel through the cave.
As you walk through them, you'll see the exit aka the light at the end of the tunnel.
A boardwalk leads you further into the canyon to give you a full, educational view on how the creek might have created this masterpiece.
While most visitors explore the "bat caves," picnic by them and call it a day, there's a hidden feature nearby that is easy to miss out on.
Following the Devil's Creek upstream, will lead you to Devil's Creek Falls, where the water slides over three ledges before falling into a 57-foot fall.
This is another adventure in itself as it falls into a hidden grotto created by the canyon walls that you can explore too!
If you're making that Pacific Northwest bucket list for the summer, this could be a perfect addition to complete it.
Boulder Cave Trail
Distance: 1.5-miles roundtrip
Location: Old River Road, Naches, WA
Why You Should Go: You can explore an ancient Washington cave, plus discover a secret underground waterfall.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment, and don't touch the cave's walls.