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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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126 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
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 NEW

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
Contributor
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
130 reviews 130 reviews
65 attraction reviews
92 helpful votes 92 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

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Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
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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Arizona
Top Contributor
167 reviews 167 reviews
45 attraction reviews
58 helpful votes 58 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
58 helpful votes 58 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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Portland, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2014

To stand this close to an active volcano is amazing!! The views are wonderful. This is nature at it's best. The $8 admission is a great deal, because they provide you with a wealth of information, and all the staff answer all questions professionally and politely. I was surprised at how easy the drive was, the roads are well maintained... More

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Portland, Oregon
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2014

It was slightly eerie to be staring into the gaping crater of Mt. St. Helens, but the views from the visitors center were pretty incredible. We didn't make use of many of their exhibits (most seemed to be designed with kids in mind), the video was so-so, but the view was great! I don't know if it would have been... More

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