Washington Cascades Travel Region
Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens is a volcano in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state and for decades had been a favorite destination for local outdoor enthusiast without receiving much attention from outside the state. This treasured anonymity, as well as the serenity of the surrounding forests, was shattered the morning of May 18, 1980 at 8:31 a.m. with a cataclysmic eruption that had a devastating effect on nearby communities as well as forests, lakes and rivers.

The story of that eruption has been told throughout the world by news broadcasts, newspapers, books, magazines and television specials. Instead of anonymity, the mountain today receives a steady stream of visitors throughout the year. The mountain, as well as thousands of acres of adjacent slopes, streams, lakes and forests, have been given the status of a National Monument. State Highway (SR) 504 now also carries the name "Spirit Lake Memorial Highway". Several visitor centers also have been built to let the public see first hand the mountain, the result of its eruption and the amazing comeback of all forms of plant and animal life.

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