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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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Johnston Ridge Observatory

In the heart of the volcano blast zone, enjoy stunning views of Mount St. Helens, listen to ranger talks, hike through the wilderness or watch an informational film.

Get a close view of Mount St. Helens at Johnston Ridge Observatory. Visit the blast zone of the volcano and learn all about its famous eruption in 1980. The observatory stands in the heart of Gifford Pinchot National Forest, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north of Portland, Oregon. 

Johnston Ridge Observatory is located next to the site where volcanologist David A. Johnston set up camp on the morning of the 1980 eruption. Although Johnston did not survive the blast, his name lives on at the observatory. Learn and explore throughout the site of this remarkable geological event. 

Look out across the vast, craggy landscape where lava flowed freely not too long ago. Check out the informative displays around the blast zone to discover the area’s history and the geological forces at work. Read eyewitness accounts of the explosion and learn more about the science of monitoring volcanic activity. 

Inside the observatory, watch an informative movie about the blast and the area. Learn about volcanoes and this specific site from knowledgeable professionals. A 0.5-mile (0.8-kilometer) trail offers excellent views across the blast zone.

Enjoy stunning observations of Mount St. Helens, including the crater, lava dome and pumice plains. Check out the emerald-colored Meta Lake and one of North America’s longest lava tubes. Also watch for animals native to the area, such as mountain goats, Roosevelt elk and Columbian blacktail deer. 

Explore the surrounding area of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Participate in a ranger-led educational program. Hike or cross-country ski along the winding trails and camp or fish in quiet solitude. 

Amenities are limited at Johnston Ridge Observatory. Find shops, restaurants and lodging in surrounding towns, such as Castle Rock or Napavine.

Visit Johnston Ridge Observatory daily between mid-May and October. Most of the trails open in June, although some on a lower elevation can be hiked year-round. Although there is an entry fee to visit the observatory, there is no fee to drive within Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.


Top Johnston Ridge Observatory Flight + Hotel Deals

Best Lodging Options Near Johnston Ridge Observatory

See all 22 Properties near Johnston Ridge Observatory
Lone Fir Resort $124
Lone Fir Resort

Lone Fir Resort

16806 Lewis River Rd., Cougar, WA
     
    2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in the mountains, this campground is within 16 mi (25 km) of Ape Caves, Marble Mountain Sno-Park, and Mount St. Helens. Climbers Bivouac Trailhead and Lava Canyon Trailhead are also within 20 mi (32 km).

    Lake Front Lodge on Lake Swift
    Lake Front Lodge on Lake Swift

    Lake Front Lodge on Lake Swift

    Stevenson, WA
       
      0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated on a lake, this romantic lodge is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Cascade Range and within 12 mi (20 km) of Mount St. Helens and Ape Caves. Marble Mountain Sno-Park and Gifford Pinchot National Forest are also within 12 mi (20 km).

      In the Heart of Cougar WA. Newly Remodeled. Previously Monfort's BNB
      In the Heart of Cougar WA. Newly Remodeled. Previously Monfort's BNB

      In the Heart of Cougar WA. Newly Remodeled. Previously Monfort's BNB

      Cougar, WA
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Cougar, this romantic vacation home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Cascade Range and within 12 mi (20 km) of Ape Caves and Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Mount St. Helens and Marble Mountain Sno-Park are also within 16 mi (25 km).

        13+ Beds Heart of Cougar. Great Location / Accommodations for Large Family/grou
        13+ Beds Heart of Cougar. Great Location / Accommodations for Large Family/grou

        13+ Beds Heart of Cougar. Great Location / Accommodations for Large Family/grou

        Cougar, WA
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Cougar, this family-friendly vacation home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Cascade Range, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Ape Caves and Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Mount St. Helens and Marble Mountain Sno-Park are also within 16 mi (25 km).

          Seasons Motel $140
          Seasons Motel

          Seasons Motel

          200 Westlake Avenue, Morton, WA
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Morton, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Veterans Wall of Honor and Morton Hospital. Gust Backstrom Park and Cascade Range are also within 1 mi (2 km).

            Gorgeous, Secluded Retreat With Hot Tub!!! $400
            Gorgeous, Secluded Retreat With Hot Tub!!!

            Gorgeous, Secluded Retreat With Hot Tub!!!

            Mossyrock, WA
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              This family-friendly Mossyrock vacation home is located in the mountains, 5.9 mi (9.6 km) from Mossyrock Park, and within 12 mi (20 km) of De Goede Bulb Farm & Gardens and Mayfield Lake. Ike Kinswa State Park is 10.9 mi (17.5 km) away.

              Mountainside Hideaway Retreat With Spa
              Mountainside Hideaway Retreat With Spa

              Mountainside Hideaway Retreat With Spa

              Morton, WA
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Morton, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Gust Backstrom Park, Morton Hospital, and Veterans Wall of Honor. Cascade Range is 1.8 mi (2.8 km) away.

                Spectacular Lake View!
                Spectacular Lake View!

                Spectacular Lake View!

                Mossyrock, WA
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  This family-friendly Mossyrock vacation home is located on a river, 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Mayfield Lake, and within 9 mi (15 km) of De Goede Bulb Farm & Gardens and Ike Kinswa State Park. Mossyrock Park is 10.6 mi (17.1 km) away.