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Layser Cave

South Cascades


South Cascades -- White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley
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0.25 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 100 ft.
Highest Point: 2400 ft.


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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

The short Layser Cave interpretive trail is a quick detour off the main route south of Randle that transports visitors into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The trail takes just a half-hour to hike and provides a nice immersion into the human history of the area.

The trailhead is inconspicuous at a curve in the road about 1.6 miles in from Forest Road 23. The trail drops down gently reaching a view of the Cispus Valley. There are views to Mount Adams, Tongue Mountain and Juniper Ridge. The interpretive sign indicates that Native Americans hunted deer and elk, driving them into a box canyon.

A short walk from the viewpoint is the Layser Cave. Discovered in 1982, it is one of the most extensive archaeological sites in this part of the state. Animal bones and stone tools found in the cave have allowed archeologists to trace human history here back nearly 7,000 years. Today you can duck into the small cave and imagine what it must have been like so many years ago.


Layser Cave

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.4615, -121.8600 Open map in new window


South Cascades -- White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley

Layser Cave (#290)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest administered by Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

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Guidebooks & Maps

Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington and the Cascades

Joan Burton (Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails McCoy Peak No. 333

Getting There

From State Route 12 in Randle, turn south on State Route 131 (signed Mount St. Helens). At 1 mile, turn left onto the Cispus Road (Forest Service Road 23). In 7 miles, turn left on Spur Road No. 083. There will be a sign stating that your destination is one-quarter mile ahead, but the road you turn on doesn't actually have a sign for Layser Cave until one-quarter mile after you turn off. The fairly hard-to-find trailhead is on a hairpin curve that goes up and to the left.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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Layser Cave

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