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Mount St. Helens Visit from the West or the South

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Harris, Minnesota
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38 posts
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Mount St. Helens Visit from the West or the South

We are going to be driving from Portland to Seattle and have 2 days to explore both St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. I am trying to decide which route would be better. 1. North to Castle Rock and then to Johnston Ridge Observatory Then overnight in Morton. 2. Northeast to Cougar and Ape Caves with a stay in Packwood. Eitherway, we want to end up exploring Paradise in Mt Rainier park the next day. Any input would be wonderful! Thanks

Oregon
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11. Re: Mount St. Helens Visit from the West or the South

I am ok getting MtSt Helens questions here. Wash TA boards are dominated by Seattle. There are a few WA regulars who will answer rural questions, but think may be as many or more Oreg TA regulars who are familiar with Mt St H.

Longview, Washington
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for Mount Rainier National Park
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12. Re: Mount St. Helens Visit from the West or the South

Definitely go to Johnston Ridge. It has the best observatory and information center. Be sure to go to the theater presentation there. Also plan to stop at the Forest Learning Center at Milepost 33. Its a great hands-on visitor center, the kids will love it! And it's free.

2 days for both Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier is not much time. Suggest you consider spending the night in Ashford rather than Morton. It has a larger variety of accommodations and is just outside the west entrance to Mt. Rainier Park.

Portland, Oregon
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13. Re: Mount St. Helens Visit from the West or the South

Johnston Ridge (which is indeed spectacular in decent weather) is a full day's expedition for most people, whether you start in Portland or Seattle. Once off I-5, the road is not fast, and you'll want to stop anyway.

It is a minimum 2 hour drive from Portland to Johnston Ridge, each way. I would frankly allocate 2.5 to 3 hours each way, not counting stops. Add in a minimum 1-hour visit (if the weather is nice, you may want to hike, and that would be longer), and you're talking 6-8 hours total round-trip, or 7-9 hours departing from Portland and then driving to Seattle.

r c
Portland, Oregon
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14. Re: Mount St. Helens Visit from the West or the South

With re to Ape Caves.

Make sure you bring some warm clothes. Its chilly in there. Flashlights would be nice too. the forest service put some stairs in so its easier to get in/out of, Dont know if they rent any lights/lamps or anything.

Also, there are 2 sections of the cave. A short one and long one. Chances are with the young ones, you will do the short one.

the long route there are some low spots and i can tell you it hurts.

15. Re: Mount St. Helens Visit from the West or the South

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