Kelso, WA

Travel Guide

This scenic town in Washington State is famous as a gateway to the Mount St. Helens volcano, but it also delights with its parks, playgrounds and museums.

Kelso is a small town close to Mount St. Helens volcano. As such it is a popular vacation spot for travelers to the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument where they participate in a range of outdoor pursuits. Explore the natural phenomenon and then discover what the town has to offer.

The national monument was established by President Ronald Reagan in 1982. The protected area covers 110,000 acres (44,515 hectares) encompassing mountains, lakes and forested areas.

Hike or cycle through extensive trails that traverse mountains and forests. Stop at various points along the way to photograph the volcano. Some of the best views are from the open-air theater at the Johnston Ridge Observatory. The vantage points look directly into the crater, some 5 miles (8 kilometers) away. During the summer, the theater hosts the Music on the Mountain concert series.

Take the boardwalk nature trail at Coldwater Lake. Go horse riding along the Sheep Canyon Trail and explore long lava caves. During the winter go cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the Sno-Park: Marble Mountain.

Beginners and experienced climbers who want to reach the top of the volcano will need a climbing permit.

When you are back in Kelso, take your time exploring the town’s attractions. Unwind in some of the many parks. The Rhododendron Gardens is noted for its flora while Tam O'Shanter Park is a popular picnic spot with a large children’s playground. If you like golf, play the 18 holes at the Three Rivers Golf Course.

While you are downtown visiting shops and restaurants, set aside a couple of hours to visit the Cowlitz County Historic Museum. View exhibits that explore the history of life in Southwest Washington.

Kelso is easy to reach by road and rail or by flying into Southwest Washington Regional Airport.

September is a good month to visit the town as you can join locals for a weekend of celebrations during the Highlander Festival. The two days of Scottish- and Celtic-themed fun includes games, parades, costumes and caber tossing.

Super 8 by Wyndham Kelso Longview Area
Super 8 by Wyndham Kelso Longview Area
2 out of 5
250 Kelso Dr, I-5 Exit 39, Kelso, WA
The price is $71 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 6
Situated in Kelso, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Tam O'Shanter Park, Three Rivers Mall, and Cowlitz County Historical Museum. Three Rivers Golf Course ...
3.5/5 Good! (979 reviews)
"Price and location"

Reviewed on Oct 26, 2021

Super 8 by Wyndham Kelso Longview Area
Red Lion Hotel Kelso Longview
Red Lion Hotel Kelso Longview
3 out of 5
510 Kelso Dr, Kelso, WA
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $109 per night from Dec 1 to Dec 1
Situated in Kelso, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tam O'Shanter Park and Three Rivers Mall. Cowlitz County Historical Museum and Three Rivers Golf ...
3.3/5 (988 reviews)
"Good location right off the freeway. Staff was friendly. Sadly most amenities were closed due to covid. Nice diner across the street with great breakfast."

Reviewed on Oct 29, 2021

Red Lion Hotel Kelso Longview
GuestHouse Kelso Longview
GuestHouse Kelso Longview
2.5 out of 5
501 Three Rivers Dr, Kelso, WA
The price is $99 per night from Dec 2 to Dec 2
Located in the heart of Kelso, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Three Rivers Mall, Tam O'Shanter Park, and Cowlitz County Historical Museum. Three Rivers ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (984 reviews)
"0"

Reviewed on Nov 12, 2021

GuestHouse Kelso Longview
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
SPECTACULAR river views. Entire 3rd Floor, pvt access. EZ I-5 access.
SPECTACULAR river views. Entire 3rd Floor, pvt access. EZ I-5 access.
Kelso, WA
Situated on a river, this romantic apartment building is within 9 mi (15 km) of Columbia River, Louis Rasmussen Day Park, and Three Rivers Mall. Tam O'Shanter ...
5/5 Exceptional! (4 reviews)
Perfect Get-away
"Great property with stunning views of the Columbia river. This is the perfect get-away to relax and enjoy some peace and quite. This is definitely a property we’d love to book again!"

Reviewed on Nov 1, 2021

SPECTACULAR river views. Entire 3rd Floor, pvt access. EZ I-5 access.
Serene Cottage in the Woods
Serene Cottage in the Woods
Kelso, WA
Located in the heart of Kelso, this romantic vacation home is within 9 mi (15 km) of Three Rivers Mall, Tam O'Shanter Park, and Cowlitz County Historical Museum. ...
Serene Cottage in the Woods
NEW! Charming Kelso Home Close to Cowlitz River!
NEW! Charming Kelso Home Close to Cowlitz River!
Kelso, WA
Situated on a river, this vacation home is within 6 mi (10 km) of Cowlitz County Historical Museum, Three Rivers Mall, and Tam O'Shanter Park. Three Rivers Golf ...
5/5 Exceptional! (4 reviews)
Exceeded our expectations
"I have stayed in a quite a few VRBO properties and I can honestly say, this has to be one of the best! Not one detail was overlooked. The amenities were above and beyond from the coffee k-cups, variety of tea, mini bottles of water in the fridge, fully supplied kitchen, toiletries in the bathrooms, ..."

Reviewed on Oct 2, 2021

NEW! Charming Kelso Home Close to Cowlitz River!
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Kelso

Cities near Kelso