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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 debris...

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 233 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 182
  • 41
    Very good
  • 6
  • 3
  • 1
Do not miss this when in Washington!!

The drive to Johnston Ridge Observatory from interstate 5 is probably at least 1 hr 15m to 1hr and a half. But the drive up there is beautiful all the way, and as you get closer... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 3 weeks ago
Chattanooga, Tennessee
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233 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
Level Contributor
52 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The drive to Johnston Ridge Observatory from interstate 5 is probably at least 1 hr 15m to 1hr and a half. But the drive up there is beautiful all the way, and as you get closer and closer you can begin to see the path of destruction that the volcano unleashed so many years ago. Trees buried in 30 feet... More 

Thank frosty5
Avon, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,039 reviews
694 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,746 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This was the last transmission made by the young USGS volcanologist David Johnston, whose remains were never found, as he witnessed the beginning of the catastrophic eruption of Mount St Helens on May 18, 1980 from the ridge where this observatory, named in his honor, now sits and is the closest point accessible by car to Mount St Helens’ crater.... More 

Thank Steve1362
Voorhees, New Jersey
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2015

The views of Mt St Helens were remarkable, even though the day was marked with scattered showers. The safe friendly. The displays informative and interesting for all age groups. Be prepared for the weather - make sure you check the forecast beforehand and bring rain gear and food!

Thank Roxie1125
Middlesex, North Carolina
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2015

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
151 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2015

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
18 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2015 via mobile

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
408 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 110 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 4 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 

3 Thank Mountain_to_Oceans
Otley West Yorkshire
Level Contributor
648 reviews
417 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 190 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

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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?