We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Johnston Ridge Observatory

Is this your business?
Toutle, WA
+1 360-274-2140
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Small-Group Full-Day Tour of Mount St Helens Volcano from Seattle
Why book on Viator?
  • Tour highlights & full itinerary
  • Easy online booking
  • Lowest price guaranteed
More Information ›
Sponsored by:
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
  • Excellent79%
  • Very good17%
  • Average2%
  • Poor0%
  • Terrible0%
Travelers talk about
“ranger talk” (17 reviews)
“blast zone” (12 reviews)
Closed Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Toutle, WA
+1 360-274-2140
Write a Review
Reviews (341)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

1 - 10 of 341 reviews

Reviewed April 21, 2017

It's a drive to get out but is was a good experience. The visitor center is informative and interactive. I would recommend taking the time to watch the video, especially if you don't know much about the volcano's history. We enjoyed hiking the ridge trail...More

1  Thank 08lj
Reviewed February 1, 2017 via mobile

After the phenomenal views of Mount St Helen going inside you can read stories and get historical information.

Thank BelaN74
Reviewed November 27, 2016

My husband and I really enjoyed our visit to the Mount St. Helens area, especially to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. We were here 15 years ago, and it is interesting to learn how much has changed in the area during this time. At the observatory,...More

Thank SECh694
Reviewed November 22, 2016

Besides the awesome beauty of Mt. St. Helens, Johnston Ridge Observatory was so interesting and sobering. The story boards brought me to tears. The movie was very moving as well. It was comforting to see the beauty that has come from the ashes. We hiked...More

Thank Rita J
Reviewed November 12, 2016

We were lucky to see Mt St Helens on our way to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Once there, clouds came in so we couldn't see the top anymore. Amazing location, seeing the devastating power of nature. Be sure to go inside the observatory (if you...More

1  Thank Ingrid D
Reviewed November 7, 2016

This is a great visitors' center. Do not miss the movie, it is very informative and moving. Hopefully you will have a clear day to view the volcano.

Thank Magnolia13
Reviewed November 5, 2016

We travelled up the Spirit Lake Highway to the Johnson Ridge Observatory. There were stunning views of the valley below. Sadly, Mount St. Helen's was in the mist. It was fascinating and we may make the trip again on a sunny day.

1  Thank Bourlingueur60
Reviewed October 24, 2016

Good place to observe the mountain but a better place for information. A video is shown of the volcano erupting and what the area was during it and after. Pleasant surprise is awaiting the viewers after the video.

Thank Jerseyhobo
Reviewed October 20, 2016

Fascinating historical and scientific information. The building on this ridge is right across from Mt St Helens. Although the peak was under clouds the day we were there, the view was still jaw-dropping. Would love to return on a clear day to fully enjoy this...More

Thank HorsesRule57
Reviewed October 18, 2016

Absolutely a thing that has to be seen if you are a volcanoes lover. The mount st.Helens with the missing top clearly gives you an idea of the fury of the elements. Don't miss it, if you are in the surroundings. And maybe, before to...More

Thank calcifero
Sponsored by:
Nearby Restaurants
Cougar Bar & Grill
40 reviews
15.97 miles away
Bean Tree
18 reviews
19.80 miles away
Patty's Place at 19 Mile House
249 reviews
19.91 miles away
The Pantry Cafe
33 reviews
21.65 miles away
Nearby Attractions
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
286 reviews
.01 miles away
Ape Cave Lava Tubes
181 reviews
11.55 miles away
Taidnapam Park
13 reviews
13.59 miles away
Questions & AnswersAsk a question
Morgan B
Did you just go? I've heard that it was closed until May?
April 25, 2017|
Response from Rita J | Reviewed this property |
We went in September. It is closed November through mid May. It opens May 13th according to their website.
So can I get some clarification: Can one actually HIKE to the crater from the Observatory? I know there are many hikes around the area and we'll surely want to do one (and considering we'll be driving straight from PDX airport upon arrival at 10:15 am on a Friday, I realize we won't have a lot of time - which is why I picked the Johnston Ridge Observatory as our anchor destination (so to speak), from which to see Mt. St. Helens and hopefully get in a hike. But I got confused reading some of the posts...didn't realize one can hike to the crater from the Observatory so wanted confirmation on that (and would that require a permit? From everything I've read, one must get a permit to hike up the crater and only 100 are given out and they must be purchased online - but is this applicable from Johnston Observatory?) Also, wondering if anyone has been to the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center (further west) and whether I should give that a complete pass, in favor of driving directly to Johnston Ridge Observatory. Thanks for feedback.
September 9, 2016|
Answer Show all 2 answers
Response from TerryCMT | Reviewed this property |
Hi. The only hiking route to the crater rim is from the south off Hwy 503, past Cougar and Ape Caves to Climber's Bivouac. And yes, you must have a permit, which is limited to 100 a day. There are three visitor centers on... More
Izzy S
Hello, I am renting a car for my trip in Washington and this appears to be the most intense drive of the trip. If I get a compact or economy car (think something like a Ford Focus), will that make the trip? The drive up looks steep. Thank you!
September 5, 2016|
Answer Show all 16 answers
Response from Dan D | Reviewed this property |
There are actually two drives up. The southern drive did not seem that steep. However I can't think of any car not being able to make it up. Neither would be to steep.