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Johnston Ridge Observatory

Toutle, WA
+1 360-274-2140
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USD 252.13*
and up
Small-Group Full-Day Tour of Mount St Helens Volcano from Seattle
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A small observatory poised dramatically on a cliff overlooking the debris left over from the famous 1980 volcano explosion.
  • Excellent79%
  • Very good17%
  • Average2%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“ranger talk” (19 reviews)
“blast zone” (12 reviews)
Closed Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 - 18:00
Toutle, WA
+1 360-274-2140
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Reviews (374)
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1 - 10 of 364 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago

First of all - the movie was NOT our favorite part of this visitor center. The filming methods that they used did not enhance our viewing experience. The rest of the observatory was interesting and well done. Be aware though - they close RIGHT at...More

Thank Nathan B
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Do not be fooled by the "Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center" down by Castle Rock. This is REAL visitor center for the National Volcanic Monument. This is not Park Service but a Forest Service park service park so thing are a little different from other...More

Thank Jason T
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Super cool to see Mt. St. Helens from the Johnston Ridge Observatory and learn about the eruption and science of volcanoes. The movies are all very informative and engaging. If you are in area I highly recommend you stop in.

Thank Jeremy G
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

You get to look right into the bowels of Mt St Helens at this location - which is still 5 miles from the mountain. An unbelievable close up to an amazing event in recent history. Well worth the drive.

Thank joefromcincy1961
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Took a day trip by myself and felt very safe. It's a one hour drive to the Observatory from the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center and well worth it, the views are breathtaking and they have many areas you can pull of and sight see....More

Thank SharieN_13
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This was a very good place to check out Mount St. Helens. I would have liked to have learned more about the events leading up to the eruption and more about the aftermath, but what was there is good. I know there are other visitor...More

Thank Jessica R
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Amazing views, outstanding educational displays, excellent hiking trails, and 2 very good movie presentations. If ever in area, it's a must visit.

Thank 007DAWG
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

You won't be sorry. It was way cooler than I ever imagined, and in fact was a highlight of our whole tour of the Northwest. Mt. St. Helens is fascinating and the area is gorgeous. We came from I-5 then turned on to 504. It...More

Thank deanie13
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This event was unprecedented. It is truly a wonder that we can come to observe the devastation. I was here 20 years ago and it is just starting to come back. The ranger tours are great, just ask when they are.

Thank mdgipsy
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Best place to plan for one day trip. The Johnston Ridge observatory is about 50 miles from I-5 along WA-504. Though it is one hour drive from I-5, it's not the only place you will be visiting. On this hour long drive, plenty of view...More

Thank Ganesh K
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Questions & Answers
Morgan B
26 April 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.
10 September 2016|
AnswerShow 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
6 September 2016|
AnswerShow 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.