We only went about 2.5 – 3 miles up the Ape Canyon trail. The elevation gain was gradual so we weren’t too miserable. We only came upon snow at one sheltered ravine.
The real thrill of the day was after lunch. The Lava Canyon trail isn’t visible from the road, as the approach is from the top. The falls drop 200 feet down and away from you.
Apparently this dramatic canyon was buried in ash and dirt for some 1,800 years and was only exposed as a consequence of the MSH eruption on May 18,1980, when a mudflow scoured this valley free of topsoil and forest to reveal the ancient basaltic andesite lava flows. This website has an awesome slide show of the canyon.
As breathtaking as this was … the real thrill was yet to come. About a 1/2 mile down river from the falls is the “bouncy, lively” suspension bridge. It’s only 3 ft wide and 100 ft across. There’s quite a lot of wiggle as you go over.
It was as thrilling as any roller coaster. Sahale Bridges built the bridge in 1993. Their website has terrific photos and even a video of crossing the bridge.