The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
More Mount St. Helens
The Johnston Ridge Observatory sits on a bluff just 5-1/2 miles from the crater at an elevation of 4,314'/1,327m and offers grand views of Mount St. Helens and much of the 1980 blast zone. This visitor center is the closest you can get to the mountain by car when driving in from the west and is located 53 miles east of the town of Castle Rock at the end of State Route 504.
Here you can enjoy spectacular views of the lava dome, crater, pumice plain and the landslide deposit.
A wide-screen theater presentation and interpretive displays depict the sequence of geologic events that changed the landscape. The video is a "must see". Be sure to stay for the curtain finale!
Discover the art and science of monitoring an active volcano and predicting eruptions through various displays and also read eye witness accounts from eruption survivors.
The visitor center is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM May through October. Closed in winter. A Monument Pass is required and can be obtained at the center.
Ample parking also can accommodate large motor homes.
A number of hiking trails let you explore, enjoy and expand your experience of the area.
Pets are not allowed at viewpoints or on trails.
A Monument Pass is required, and you can pick one up in the visitor center.
The Johnston Ridge Observatory is operated by the USDA Forest Service. For more information you can call 360-274-2140.
Johnston Ridge Observatory. 21500 Spirit Lake Highway, Toutle, WA 98649. Phone: 360-274-2143.
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
A Falcon Guide to Mount St. Helens: A Guide to Exploring the Great Outdoors by Fred Barstad. Exploring Mount St. Helens is a comprehensive guide to this world-renowned attraction, offering a close-up look at the destruction and remarkable recovery of the area. The guide includes detailed information on the natural and cultural history of the area; recreational opportunities, including 23 hiking trails; and historical, geological, and natural exhibits. Order now...
In the Blast Zone: Catastrophe and Renewal on Mount St. Helens by Charles Goodrich, Kathleen Dean Moore and Frederick Swanson. This book presents a cross-pollination of literary and scientific perspectives on the mountain's history of cataclysm and renewal. These writings will startle readers with new recognition of the matchless gift Mount St. Helens makes to our region and the world: the gifts of beauty, of scientific illumination, of hope. Order now...
Portrait of Mount St. Helens: A Changing Landscape by Chuck Williams (Author) and Stuart Warren (Contributor). View the grandeur and the intimate detail of this beloved mountain as seen by 19th-century painters and pioneers as well as contemporary photographers. Order now...
Day Hiking, South Cascades by Dan Nelson. Introducing next-generation trail guides for the Northwest. More day hikes, with options for extending the trip; hike selection conveniently arranged by highway and travel corridors; more hikes close to urban centers; more year-round hikes at low elevation; clear driving directions; a portable size; and more use of color. Order now...
Selected Climbs in the Cascades Volume II by Jim Nelson and Peter Potterfield. Features 100 routes, including top favorite sport and crag climbing areas. Illustrated throughout with black and white photographs, several with route overlays. Highlights fun, quality climbs for all skill levels. Order now...
Washington Off the Beaten Path, 9th Edition (Off the Beaten Path Series) by Chloe Ernst. This book features the unique things to see and do from quirky cultural tidbits to hidden attractions and unique finds to local dining. Travel off the beaten path for a one of a king experience. Order now...
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