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“About as Close as You Can Safely Get to Mount Saint Helens”

Johnston Ridge Observatory
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US$ 252.13*
and up
Small-Group Full-Day Tour of Mount St Helens...
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Toutle
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A small observatory poised dramatically on a cliff overlooking the debris left over from the famous 1980 volcano explosion.
Reviewed 26 October 2017

On a whim, took a trip up to Mt. Saint Helens the second weekend of October, 2017. Even though it had snowed up there on Friday and there was still ice on the road and sidewalk in shady areas, mid-day promised to be spectacular! Sixty degrees, clear and calm with gorgeous views of the mountain. Caught a geologist's presentation out on the veranda of the days and hours leading up to the 1980 eruption. Then, watched the film on the natural recovery of the area over the past few decades. To get a closer look, hiked the Hummocks Trail Loop on the way back down. A two and half mile trail through the debris mounds, ponds and alder groves that originally constituted the top portions of the mountain. Nice day! (Oh, and Johnston Ridge as real flush toilets!)

Thank kumtux
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (416)
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"mt st"
in 38 reviews
"visitor center"
in 48 reviews
"ranger talk"
in 20 reviews
"volcanic eruption"
in 6 reviews
"active volcano"
in 6 reviews
"minute movie"
in 8 reviews
"visitors centers"
in 5 reviews
"huge parking lot"
in 4 reviews
"national park pass"
in 5 reviews
"hiking trails"
in 15 reviews
"great view of mt"
in 6 reviews
"excellent displays"
in 4 reviews
"gift shop"
in 22 reviews
"clean restrooms"
in 6 reviews
"worth the trip"
in 12 reviews
"castle rock"
in 12 reviews
"spirit lake"
in 22 reviews
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14 - 18 of 416 reviews

Reviewed 26 October 2017

This is simply the best place to visit and understand the awesome power of Mt. St. Helens and to understand the reality of what happened, to see the way that nature is regenerating the landscape and to see the way the mountain itself is reforming Just amazing but be sure to go on a clear day,

Thank R0bAlex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2017

Always wanted to visit this site after grading countless case studies as a geography teacher (now retired) in the UK. Great view of the mountain itself and an understanding of the observatory and the role of David Johnston.

Thank Yorks-Rick-and-Sue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2017

We have enjoyed both our visits to this location. If there is a ranger program be sure to attend. You get a lot of facts on Mt. St. Helen's. There are plenty of trails to walk on around the observatory. If you have a National Park Pass you get into the observatory for free (even though this isn't a national park). Inside the observatory there are lots of exhibits and a movie. Very educational. When you hear the events of the eruption and see what happened it's kind of hard to comprehend. Definitely worth a visit both for the young and the young at heart. There is a gift shop with very reasonably priced items. I believe they sell snacks but not sure.

Thank Wanda R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 October 2017

We had planned our trip to the Pacific northwest for months and knew there had been smoke and haze in the area. So, I found out online that you can check the webcam from the visitor's center and check the view. We changed our visit to the end of our vacation in order to allow more time for the rain to clean the smoke out of the air. And, Mt St Helen's did not disappoint. It was lovely the day we were there. And, the JRO is very informative and enjoyable. We went through the exhibits and saw one of the films. We were pressed for time getting back to the airport in Portland, so we did not have time to hike. But, just seeing what we did and learning about the eruption, was amazing. If you have time, you really MUST drive all the way up so you can see the valley below and get the best angle on the crater. Wow.

2  Thank Zamigaos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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