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Featured Travel

Travel to Mt. St. Helens for Monumental Experience

Mt st helensI travel to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument every few years and I am perpetually amazed at how the Phoenix rises from the ashes. That is, the place isn’t a dead moonscape anymore. Indeed, only a few years after the blast, sprouts of this and that were pushing their way through feet of ash and debris!
If you haven’t visited the park lately or maybe have never been, summer and fall are the perfect times to go. Spend the day learning about the eruption at the centers, take a hike and consider how lucky we are that more havoc wasn’t wrecked.
Trail, Road, & Visitor Center Conditions Report
North/West Side via State Highway 504
The massive landslide and blast of the 1980 eruption traveled north and west from the mountain.  The landscape on this side was scoured, but is returning to life.  Visitor centers along highway 504 tell the story and provide stunning crater views.  Trails let visitors explore the rebirth or access areas slower to recover.
East Side via National Forest Roads 25 and 99spirit lake
This more remote side of the mountain illustrates the stark line between old growth forest and the Blast Zone.  Visitors here can witness the standing dead forest, enjoy interpretive talks, gaze into a log-strewn lake, and access the backcountry and Pumice Plain.  The end point provides the closest view of the crater accessible by car.
South Side via State Route 503 and Forest Roads 90 and 83
Much of the south side forest was untouched in the 1980 eruption, and areas of old growth can still be found there.  Recent and millennia-old eruptions shaped the south side, creating underground lava tubes and lahar flows.  This is the place for winter recreation, climbing the mountain, as well as a multitude of other recreation opportunities.
Mountain bike or hike through old growth forests along the Ape Canyon Trail and arrive here just before you enter the Plains of Abraham
Explore Mount Margaret Backcountry
This hidden gem of the Monument has 5,000′ jagged peaks packed with mountain goats, elk and wildlife galore.  Learn how to obtain a permit to backpack in the Mount Margaret Backcountry.
Lakes Trail 211 overlooking Panhandle Lake in the Mount Margaret Backcountry
 
Note: Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument is within Gifford Pinchot National Forest