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.
Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson. Learn the history and science of one of the largest eruptions and the effects of the aftermath through personal stories and accounts of those caught in the disaster. Illustrations and maps enable a greater understanding of this tragic event. Order now...
Day Hiking Mount St. Helens by Craig Romano and Aaron Theison. This Mountaineers Book features every trail within and around the monument. Hikes are arranged by regions with trail descriptions, directions to trailheads and difficulty ratings along with other useful information and photographs. Order now...
Mount St. Helens 35th Anniversary Edition: The Eruption and Recovery of a Volcano by Rob Carson. Along with remarkable before-and-after images, this 35th-anniversary retrospective captures the human drama leading up to the eruption and two decades of subsequent scientific research of the amazing post-blast ecological recovery. Order now...
A Falcon Guide to Mount St. Helens: A Guide to Exploring the Great Outdoors by Fred Barstad. This book is a comprehensive guide to this world-renowned attraction, with a close-up look at the destruction and recovery of the area. The guide includes detailed information on the natural and cultural history of the area, recreational opportunities, 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. Discover the gifts of beauty, scientific illumination and 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...
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