Ape Canyon – Cougar, Washington - Atlas Obscura

Ape Canyon

This scenic gorge is named after one of the most famous Bigfoot attacks in pseudohistory. 


Ape Canyon is a narrowing gorge sitting just to the southeast of Mount St. Helens where one of the most famous Bigfoot attacks in the cryptozoological canon is said to have taken place in 1924, eventually giving the nature spot its name. 

According to a story that was widely run in Washington and Oregon newspapers at the time it was on a summer night in July, 1924 that a small cabin housing a group of miners came under attack by a gang of wild “apemen.” According to the five miners, all of whom survived the incident and seemed convinced of its facts, they were asleep when the attack started. Seemingly out of nowhere the cabin they had hand built began being hit by huge stones that were being thrown by “Mountain Devils” on all sides. The men began to shoot at the monsters and the attacks would cease only to start back up again minutes later. At one point one of the supposed Sasquatch reached into the cabin through a hole in the construction and took hold of an axe, but was stymied before he could pull it out of the building.

The siege continued until daybreak when the men finally inched their way out of the cabin. One of the men, Fred Beck, saw one of the Bigfoot standing in the distance at the edge of what is now Ape Canyon. Beck fired on the creature supposedly watching it tumble into the gorge.

Beck would go on to write a book about their experience that night, speculating that the apemen were in fact extradimensional beings, but some more grounded theories have also been posited. The most popular explanation for the sensational story is that it was a gang of local youth that were bombarding the cabin with rocks as youths are want to do. Thanks to the acoustics of the canyon it is possible that their voices were made to seem beastly, or extradimensional as it were.

The site of the cabin is no longer known, but Ape Canyon continues to be a popular hiking destination despite being significantly altered by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. It seems that not hoards of otherworldly bigfoots nor active volcanoes can keep people away from this lovely spot. 

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