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Boulder Cave

Mount Rainier Area > Chinook Pass - Hwy 410
46.9597, -121.0864 Map & Directions
2.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
300 feet
Highest Point
2,700 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Wildlife

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
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Boulder Cave formed millions of years from volcanic activity. Today the cave is home to a dwindling population of Pacific western big-eared bats. Continue reading

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Hiking Boulder Cave

Boulder Cave formed more than 10 million years ago through a unique process. When the Yakima Basalt Formation — a series of lava flows with sediment deposits — covered the area. Devil Creek eventually eroded these deposits, causing sediment to collapse and the caves to form.

A short hike to the natural wonders left behind by the erosion process makes this trail popular on summer weekends.

The trail to Boulder Cave was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1930s and has been improved several times since then, most recently in 2014. The trail is signed as the Sun and Sage loop and it follows a small ravine. Make sure to keep an eye out for the lookout platform over the gorge just after the first hill. The path climbs gradually with a number of interpretive signs about the local ecology and history along the way.

As the trail flattens out, look to the far side of the ravine to see a new cave beginning to form. Then wind your way down to the the cave entrance. This cave formation is more of a tunnel so the trail through is one way, follow the sign to the right and the cave entrance.

If you plan to walk through the cave don't forget a light source or two. Also this area is important habitat for the Pacific western big-eared bat, please follow these guidelines to reduce disturbance to this sensitive species:

  • Limit all noise (whisper)
  • Stay on trail
  • Don't touch the cave walls
  • Direct light beam at the trail, avoid directing it at the ceiling
  • Respect the seasonal closure

After you have explored this small cave (about 400 feet deep) you will pop out the backside and meet up with the trail. Head back out the way you came.

Wheelchair Accessibility

When open this trail does have steps to navigate once hikers arrive at the cave.

WTA worked here in 2018 and 2016!

Hike Description Written by
Kindra Ramos, WTA Staff

Boulder Cave

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.9597, -121.0864 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

Open hours are 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The trail is closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. Timed ticket reservations will be required for day use starting 5/24/2023.

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From the ranger station in Enumclaw, drive east on State Route 410 (Chinook Pass Highway) to Chinook Pass (about 44 miles). From Chinook Pass continue east 26 miles. Make a right onto Forest Road 1704 (signed "Boulder Cave National Recreational Trail"). Cross a bridge and almost immediately turn right onto Forest Road 1704. On this road, drive 1.2 miles. To the trailhead, found to the left of the day use area as you drive in.

Starting May 24, 2023, timed tickets are required for access to the day-use area, which can be acquired online at Reservations can be made between 2 to 14 days in advance.

More Hike Details


Mount Rainier Area > Chinook Pass - Hwy 410

Boulder Cave (#962)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Naches Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson -- Mountaineers)

Hiking Guide to Washington Geology (Carson / Babcock - Keokee) p. 141-143

Buy the Green Old Scab Mtn No. 272 map

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Boulder Cave

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