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“Power of Nature” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens
WA 98649
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Private Tour
and up
Private Tour: Mount St Helens Nature Walk and Ape...
Activities: Mountaineering, Hiking
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: While access to the still-steaming crater is forbidden, tourists flock to see what remains of this famous volcano.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
44 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Power of Nature”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2012

Great day trip from Seattle. Early morning it was very foggy at the mt st Helens visitor center at silver lake but by the time we drove to the top it was blue skies and sunny. Well worth the drive and see the power of nature.
The rangers give a very good talk describing the events outside the visitor center about 4 times per day.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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221 reviews from our community

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Collierville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
226 reviews
140 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 167 helpful votes
“Exceptional! Outstanding!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2012

We did this almost as an afterthought on the last leg of a long 3,000 mile journey through the Northwest and we are so very glad we did. It was all so interesting and beautiful. If the weather is pretty I would advise going directly to Johnston Ridge Observatory to try to beat some of the crowds. Take your time in the building and be sure to check out both films - the way they end them is quite dramatic. There are so many trails up here - it would be wonderful to have a full day just in this one area.

All the stops along the way up to Johnston Ridge were interesting, but that is by far the crowning jewel. We brought some sandwiches with us, which worked out well for us.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
82 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
“Phenomenal View of Nature's Force”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2012

Our expectations were guarded because the cloud cover was quite heavy on the day we set out to explore Mt. St. Helens via route 504. Luckily after driving one hour from I-5, the view was clear and spectacular at the Johnston Ridge Observatory. We traveled mid-week and there was very little traffic which allowed us to stop and take pictures -- there are quite a number of excellent view points along the 50 mile route. If you have a National Park Pass there is no fee to view the exhibits and watch the two excellent movies. Hiking with small children might be a challenge but there are easy trails from the Observatory. The more difficult hike to the crater requires a permit. Unlike Mt. Rainier National Park, there are no campsites nearby so the closest camping along Route 504 is either the Washington State campsite at Seaquest [Castle Rock, WA] or a few private spots along Silver Lake. Also, food choices are very limited with only a catering truck at Johnston Observatory.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Level Contributor
43 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“waste lands”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2012

This is a nice place to visit but go in the afternoons as mornings are foggy. Lots of trees have been replanted and its beginning to look pretty. You can still see some of the destruction from the eruption if 1985. There is lots of ashes still on the sides of the mountain that flows down the tuttle river making it grey in appearance .

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camas, Washington
Level Contributor
97 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Beautiful volcano”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2012

It's been over 10 years since we last visited and it was a very pleasant surprise to see so much life has come back to the area. We took the 504 route and checked out all the visitor centers along the way. Many spots to stop for photos and such. We spotted about a dozen elks with the help of a veteran ranger. Theses guys are available at each stop, really nice people with so much passion for mt. St. Helen's. At the last minute we decided to pack a few sandwiches and snacks for lunch, which proved to be the best idea. Finding a good spot for picnic was a challenge though as nearly every picnic table we found were taken over by huge amounts of carterpillars. But our patience paid off when we finally brought our cooler to the little dock at coldwater lake. It was the perfect spot for a quiet and relaxing picnic with mt. Jefferson and the tranquil lake in view. Now if I recall, the only visitor center that had food available for sale was the very first one, I think hotdogs maybe chips. So we were so glad to have prepared our picnic ahead of time. Definitely needed the energy for hiking. I can understand though why food is limited in the park, most likely out of environmental concerns. So if you palm to spend more than a half day here, be sure to bring some simple snacks to keep you going.

JohnsonRidge Observatory was our final destination, and the only station that charged a fee to go inside the building. I don't think you have to pay just to be outside and take pictures of the mountain, which by the way is amazing! We see it's snowcapped top when driving around in camas all the time, but being up close like this, it's breath taking. It is worth the $8 to go in the building. The movie was excellent, as well as some of the exhibits. We also enjoyed ranger Todd's presentation very much. Like I said, these guys love the mountain and know everything about it. A wonderful program they offer right in front of the majestic volcano.

Hubby took the hike all the way down to spirit lake. It was around 3 miles I think and took him 3 hours round trip in flip-flops. The photos he took down there were incredible, with both mt. St. Helen's and mt. Jefferson in sight. I will definitely join him on the hike next time. We would also like to come from the south side some time. There are plans to open up 2 more campgrounds in the near future, very exciting!

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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