We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Johnston Ridge Observatory

Toutle, WA
Improve this listing
Ranked #1 of 5 attractions in Toutle
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Observatories/ Planetariums, Tourist/ Visitor Centers
Activities: Leisure education
Description: A small observatory poised dramatically on a cliff overlooking the debris left over from the famous 1980 volcano explosion.
Write a Review

99 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2014 NEW

We drove in on a misty day so saw nothing of the mountain en route. Arrived as a young ranger outside the center gave a fascinating talk on the sequence of events of the fateful day, then paid the $8 each adult entry and went straight into the darkened auditorium to see the same illustrated story on a relatively small... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
McDonough, Georgia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2014 via mobile

On our 5th visit to the Pacific Northwest we finally visited Mount Saint Helens and now we wish we had done it much sooner. It's an easy and very scenic two hour drive from Portland. There are three visitor centers along the way to the Johnston Ridge. We drove by the first but did stop by the next two and... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Portland, Oregon, United States
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2014

Some of the best views into Mt ST Helens crater and some very knowledgeable people to explain everything you are seeing. Try to get there on a clear day so you can be sure to see the mountain.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Wilkeson, Washington
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2014

I am absolutely amazed at how close this observatory gets you to the mountain! Mt St Helen's lies before you majestic and obviously powerful with her top blown off as you come up the hill. The rangers are knowledgable and answer all of your questions with ease. Neat exhibits for the kids to play with and visuals that they can... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Hillsboro, Oregon
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

This is supposedly the "crowning jewel" of Mt. St. Helens?? Are you kidding me? There's nothing there! The educational exhibits are pathetic. The "guides" are dumb-as-a-doornail high school students. The most prominent part of the center is the gift shop. The place was overrun with foreigners and morbidly obese kids complaining that they couldn't play their video games. This place... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Apopka, Florida
Top Contributor
169 reviews 169 reviews
89 attraction reviews
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2014

If the weather is clear, the long drive to the visitor's center is a must. The film is well done as well as the displays. The view from the center is incredible. They have ranger talks outside and nice restrooms inside.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Pukalani, Maui
Top Contributor
135 reviews 135 reviews
40 attraction reviews
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2014

Johnston Ridge Observatory is a good place to learn about the volcano while looking at the crater from the eruption. on the day we visited, the clouds kept the summit from view but we got a few peeks here and there. It's a drive from Portland but well worth the effort. On a clear day you can see the nearby... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2014

It's a long drive up to the observatory from the highway, but boy is it worth it. Stunningly awesome views of the volcano from the viewing platform. The observatory experience is both entertaining and educational with a breathtaking show-stopping surprise at the end of each presentation. If you are within 200 miles, then just drop everything and go see. You... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
tucson az
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
28 attraction reviews
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2014

I am fascinated by volcanoes and I have been fortunate to see a few. If you want the big picture of what happened to this mountain and the surrounding area in 1980 this is the place for you. Situated on Johnston Ridge (named for the geologist who died on the mountain) it offers a view of the side of the... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Swansea, IL
Top Contributor
136 reviews 136 reviews
14 attraction reviews
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2014

Hopefully, you will be able to take a trip to Mt. St. Helen's NP to see what the devastation has done to the area. Just a wonderful sight. You have fantastic views of the mountain and the valley below. You will find many wonderful exhibits inside as well as different shows concerning the mountain's eruption and how the area is... More

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed Johnston Ridge Observatory also viewed


Been to Johnston Ridge Observatory? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Johnston Ridge Observatory, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.

Manage your listing