Mount St. Helens

Vacation Travel Guide
Mount St. Helens which includes landscape views, mountains and views

Take the 1.5-hour drive north of Portland to see this National Volcanic Monument and a blast zone in repair.

Even without the peak that used to make it the fifth highest mountain in the United States, Mount St. Helens is an awe-inspiring sight. A devastating eruption on May 18, 1980, reduced the still-active volcano’s elevation by 1,312 feet (400 meters) to 8,365 feet (2,550 meters). Though the flow of gas and rock from the eruption laid waste to the surrounding area, flora and fauna are regenerating and eco-systems are on their way to recovery.

There are two different visitor centers at Mount St. Helens. At Silver Lake Visitor Center watch a 16-minute video detailing the events of the eruption. The Forest Learning Center further along the road is where you’ll learn about the regeneration projects that have taken place in the decades since the 1980 eruption. It’s also a good place to look out for the graceful elk in their natural environment.

You can see the volcano from both visitors’ centers, but the most spectacular view is from Johnston Ridge Observatory, in the heart of the blast zone. Here you can peer right into the crater, or take a helicopter ride for an aerial view. Some visitor centers have an admission fee and are closed during winter.

Hikers should take advantage of the trails around Coldwater Lake, or if you are feeling particularly brave, walk up the volcano itself. You’ll need a permit to do this and numbers are restricted to 100 per day.

While Mount St. Helens is possible as a daytrip from Portland, you could extend your stay by camping in the Seaquest State Park, a year-round camp site near the Silver Lake shoreline. Hike or bicycle through the woodland trails and you may spot some of the wildlife: elk, hawks, woodpeckers, and possibly coyotes and bears.

Top things to do in Mount St. Helens

Top Hotels Close to Mount St. Helens

Lone Fir Resort
Lone Fir Resort
3 out of 5
16806 Lewis River Rd., Cougar, WA
The price is $149 per night from Oct 7 to Oct 7
Situated in the mountains, this holiday park is within 16 mi (25 km) of Ape Caves, Marble Mountain Sno-Park, and Mount St. Helens. Climbers Bivouac Trailhead ...
4.2/5Excellent! (189 reviews)
"The staff were great to talk to, very knowledgeable. Gift shop had some cool stuff and last minute supplies. Loved the quiet hours, it made going to bed early and getting up early easier. Will definitely stay again."

Reviewed on Sep 14, 2021

Lone Fir Resort
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
This family-friendly Cougar vacation home is located on a river, 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Cascade Range, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Ape Caves and Gifford Pinchot ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (17 reviews)
Family Friendly Property
"The kids (and some adults) loved the game room. Found out my 13 year old grandson is a pool shark! The location was great for going to Ape Caves, and Yale Lake. We also took a day trip to the Johnston Ridge Observatory in the Mt. St. Helens National Monument. We all enjoyed our stay. The kids had ..."

Reviewed on Aug 18, 2021

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13+ Beds Heart of Cougar. Great Location / Accommodations for Large Family/grou
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
This family-friendly Cougar vacation home is located on a river, 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Cascade Range, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Ape Caves and Gifford Pinchot ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (17 reviews)
Easy access to Lewis River
"It was pretty much as described."

Reviewed on Sep 1, 2021

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

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Best Lodging Options Near Mount St. Helens

Seasons Motel
Seasons Motel
2.5 out of 5
200 Westlake Avenue, Morton, WA
The price is $140 per night from Oct 3 to Oct 3
Seasons Motel
Lone Fir Resort
Lone Fir Resort
3 out of 5
16806 Lewis River Rd., Cougar, WA
The price is $149 per night from Oct 7 to Oct 7
Lone Fir Resort
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
13+ Beds Heart of Cougar. Great Location / Accommodations for Large Family/grou
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
In the Heart of Cougar WA. Newly Remodeled. Previously Monfort's BNB
Clydesdale Outpost
Clydesdale Outpost
3 out of 5
13505 NE Grantham Rd, Amboy, WA
Clydesdale Outpost
The First Light Suite
The First Light Suite
Mossyrock, WA
The price is $205 per night from Sep 24 to Sep 24
The First Light Suite
The Orion Suite at Adytum Sanctuary
The Orion Suite at Adytum Sanctuary
Mossyrock, WA
The Orion Suite at Adytum Sanctuary
Silver Cove RV Resort
Silver Cove RV Resort
2 out of 5
351 Hall Road, Silver Lake, WA
Silver Cove RV Resort
Mid-century Adventurers Gettin' Funky on the Farm
Mid-century Adventurers Gettin' Funky on the Farm
Woodland, WA
Mid-century Adventurers Gettin' Funky on the Farm
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.