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Johnston Ridge Observatory

Toutle, WA
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Ranked #1 of 6 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.
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128 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Hillsboro, Oregon
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
30 attraction reviews
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2014

This place is the crown jewel of the monument. If you are visiting the north side of Mt. Saint Helens, this is a must see place even though it is about 50 miles from I-5. Stop at the first visitor center in Silver Lake to get weather conditions. The JRO is built into the side of a mountain and looks... More

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Arlington, Virginia
5 reviews 5 reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2014

My first visit - wow, so glad that I made this trip. I found out that there are different approaches and different Mt. St. Helen's visitor's centers. Call ahead as Johnston closes in bad weather. Johnston Ridge Observatory is not close to the main highway at all, and it is a full day trip from Olympia, Washington. Bring your own... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Denver, Colorado
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
11 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2014

This observatory is immediately across from the crater. On a clear day the view is spectacular. Definitely see the movie and attend a ranger talk or two. There is great hiking so leave plenty of time for that. No water or food.

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Springfield, Oregon
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
7 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2014

What an amazing place! To see what has come back after 34 years and what is still highly effected by the blast of Mt St Helens. This was a beautiful drive, informational in the presentations and movies and just to see all that has been touched by nature..... We really enjoyed our time here and would love to go back... More

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Portland, Oregon
13 reviews 13 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2014

Interesting piece of local history. You have to pay to go into the observatory - which I didn't do and probably missed out, but the group I was with wasn't planning on staying long. They also have a trail that must go out to another viewpoint but no joke, you have to pay to walk down it. I wandered around... More

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Everett, WA
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
66 attraction reviews
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2014

We took family from Canada up to see the volcano and stand on Johnston Ridge. 34 years after the blast and the devastation is still quite obvious. It is also interesting how much wild life and vegetation has returned. It is definitely a worthwhile trip, even though it's more than a 2 hr drive from Seattle and there is a... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Seattle, Washington
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2014

Traveled up here this weekend (9/13) and had a great time. First time up near St. Helens and decided to chat to the rangers. All of them were quite helpful and informative on everything to do with the mountain and really put what i was seeing in to perspective. Was absolutely amazing and will be back.

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Top Contributor
167 reviews 167 reviews
45 attraction reviews
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2014

We were Amazed at the Mt St. Helen's site....this experience is Top Notch☆ The films are very informative. ..the view deck is great....& there are several people positioned throughout the center to answer any & all questions you might have☆The theater design is WOW....you will be amazed at the end of the film!!!!

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Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
14 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2014

I visited on a weekday an hour before their visitors center closed at 6:00 pm. There were very few people at the time of my visit, but I would imagine that the weekends are quite busy. They have a large parking area that should easily accommodate over one-hundred vehicles. There are bathrooms in the visitors center, but if you stay... More

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Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
130 reviews 130 reviews
65 attraction reviews
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2014

The Johnston Ridge Observatory provides the closest and most direct views into the crater of Mt St Helens. It is high on a ridge directly in the path of the blast zone that blew out the top and north side of the mountain in the 1980 eruption. I have visited here a few times since the eruption and it is... More

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