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Johnston Ridge Observatory

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Address: Toutle, WA
Today
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Activities: Leisure education
Description: 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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Book ahead on Viator
Private Tour
$275*
and up
Private Tour: Mount St Helens Day Trip from Seattle

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 133 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 106
    Excellent
  • 21
    Very good
  • 3
    Average
  • 3
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  • 0
    Terrible
Most recent review
Great view of blast site

Johnston Ridge Observatory is very nice. There are a few exhibits and a 3D light up map board and all are free. The theater costs $8 but it is well worth it. You can hang... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed January 3, 2015
HazelEyesFromTN
,
Tennessee
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133 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Tennessee
Top Contributor
213 reviews 213 reviews
96 attraction reviews
265 helpful votes 265 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2015

Johnston Ridge Observatory is very nice. There are a few exhibits and a 3D light up map board and all are free. The theater costs $8 but it is well worth it. You can hang around and view all 3 movies which are about 12 minutes each and they play back to back so no waiting an hour or 30... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Wisconsin
Top Contributor
369 reviews 369 reviews
105 attraction reviews
129 helpful votes 129 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2014

Went with family in October 2014. Be prepared for the slightly thinner air if you are from the Midwest. Had a nice semi clear day. Neat experience to walk through a cloud on the trail. If you are going to do the 12 miles hike I would take snacks and water. Park rangers patrol the area but are not super... More 

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Hawthorne, NJ
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
21 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2014

Magnificent place to visit! The Observatory features multimedia exhibits, and a couple of movies for those who are interested. Examples of the types of volcanic rocks were present, and panels with descriptions of some of the people and places that both survived and didn't survive told vivid stories of that May day were as moving as informative. The view itself... More 

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Cary, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
5 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2014

Observatory is fantastic. Awesome view ... great exhibits ... Rangers were helpful and informative. Cost was $8 when I went. Attended 2 movies ... 1 Ranger exhibition ... and viewed all the exhibits. Spent probably 3 ~ 4 hours doing everything. View is AMAZING ... hiking and walking outside just shows you how powerful nature is. Easy to get to... More 

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Palo Alto, California
Top Contributor
208 reviews 208 reviews
75 attraction reviews
704 helpful votes 704 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2014

Mt. St. Helens has several visitor centers and vista points. The two most popular (due to easiest access and most advertisements and signage) are both along WA-504, east of the Castle Rock exit on I-5. The first one you come to is the Mt St. Helens Visitor Center by Silver Lake (6.9 miles -12 minutes - from I-5) and is... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 11
Hillsboro, Oregon
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
40 attraction reviews
47 helpful votes 47 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 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Arlington, Virginia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 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
36 reviews 36 reviews
17 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 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
37 reviews 37 reviews
8 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
20 reviews 20 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
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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