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Johnston Ridge Observatory

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Address: Toutle, WA
Phone Number: 360-274-2140
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10:00 am - 6:00 pm
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Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

A small observatory poised dramatically on a cliff overlooking the...

A small observatory poised dramatically on a cliff overlooking the debris left over from the famous 1980 volcano explosion.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 186 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 149
  • 29
    Very good
  • 5
  • 3
  • 0
If you are visiting Mt. St. Helens, don't miss this!

There are three visitor centers on 504 out of Castle Rock. The first is run by the Washington State Parks and is known as the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center. The second is The... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 3 weeks ago
Carl B
Middlesex, North Carolina
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186 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Middlesex, North Carolina
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

There are three visitor centers on 504 out of Castle Rock. The first is run by the Washington State Parks and is known as the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center. The second is The Forest Learning Center ran jointly run by Wash. DOT, Weyerhaeuser, and The Rocky Mount Elk Foundation. The third is Johnson Ridge Observatory run by the US... More 

Thank Carl B
Sugar Land, Texas
Level Contributor
127 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The Observatory is a must see attraction. It has a great overview of the Mt St Helen blast. I highly recommend you take the Ranger talk about Mt St Helens..it is the best ive ever seen. they really know the complete story and is told in a very human and exciting way. Also the view from the Observatory looks directly... More 

Thank Rockdoc7
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2015

It's not every weekend that you wake up in the middle of a business trip with such a famous volcano on your doorstep so I ventured up here and really enjoyed it. Firstly thanks to other reviewers who recommended HW504 as the best route to see Mt St Helens - that road is just awesome and guarantees arrival at the... More 

Thank PaulN_NI
Level Contributor
356 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2015

The clouds were low lying today so we really didnt get to the crater at all, you really couldnt see much. You had to pay 8.00 bucks per person to get in and I dont know we were just expecting more. We walked around a little bit and then left. Maybe it would have been better if the clouds werent... More 

1 Thank h0ckeygirl36
Level Contributor
142 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2015

We did several ranger led tours. Learned a lot about the Mt. Saint Helens eruption in 1980. a worthwhile stop.

1 Thank BaltimoreSkiBob
British Columbia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2015

We made a side trip to Johnston Ridge Observatory during a tour of Washington and Oregon. As others have mentioned it is more than an hour drive off of the I-5, but the drive itself is beautiful. As you approach the observatory from the NW and the valley which was flooded by the mud slide after the eruption, curiosity peaks... More 

2 Thank Mountain_to_Oceans
Otley West Yorkshire
Level Contributor
585 reviews
381 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 176 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2015 via mobile

Very information and outstanding views of the volcano and the devastation it caused. The films were great as were the talk by the Rangers. Several trails to follow if you have the time. We spent several hours here and loved it. The whole complex is very good, the only thing missing is a restaurant, there is a van in the... More 

Thank bryan61
Staunton, Virginia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2015

Be sure it's not a foggy day or time of day, so you can enjoy a great view of Mt Saint Helens. The facility has a short film that gives vivid images of the famous eruption and its aftermath. It's a National park, so their is an admission fee (but my golden eagle pass covered it). It's pretty isolated, and... More 

Thank J K B
South Bend, Indiana
Level Contributor
159 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2015

We hiked the Truman Ridge trail from here. The observatory itself offers some great views but the trails a few miles out are the real areas to see.

Thank Tony M
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2015

The best "National Park"(even 'though it's run by the Forest Service) I've visited. The best way to go for two, is to rent a car for the day in Portland if the weather is clear. It's a two hour drive on very good roads. The centre is THE BEST place to view Mt St Helen's with very good movies, ranger... More 

2 Thank Mark C

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  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?