Days available: Friday or Saturday
Duration: 9.5 hrs
Departure: 9:00 am until 6:30 pm
Price: $210 per person (6 or more required for departure)
Mt. St. Helen’s eruption…
Shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. Nearly 230 square miles of forest was blown down or buried beneath volcanic deposits.
At the same time a mushroom-shaped column of ash rose thousands of feet skyward and drifted downwind, turning day into night as dark, gray ash fell over eastern Washington and beyond. The eruption lasted 9 hours, but Mount St. Helen’s and the surrounding landscape were dramatically changed within moments.
• The Mount St. Helen’s Silver Lake Visitor Center is an excellent place to begin the “eruption experience”
• See spectacular views of the Mountain, elk, and replanted forests.
• Johnston Ridge Observatory is the closest view to the crater of Mount St. Helen’s.
- 9:00 AM DEPART FROM PORTLAND
- Arrive at MOUNT ST. HELENS VISITOR CENTER
The Mount St. Helen’s Silver Lake Visitor Center is an excellent place to begin the “eruption experience”.
The attractive, lodge-style facility includes exhibits, trails, and a 16-minute movie about the eruption. A
walk-through model of Mount St. Helens gives visitors a chance to experience Volcanology from the
• Nature Trail – The nature trail is a mile long trail along Silver Lake, with boardwalks over wetlands, where a variety of migratory birds may be seen, with picturesque views of Mount St. Helen and the surrounding areas.
• Movie – a powerful and moving 16-minute film detailing the events around the May 18, 1980 eruption.
• Exhibits – provide information on volcanoes, comparing Mt. St. Helens vs volcanic eruptions through history.
- Zip Line Tours: Year round Adventures
Your Treehouse Island Zipline Adventure begins with a fun and scenic boat ride over the calm waters of Silver Lake. Treehouse Island abounds with old growth trees complimented by all things nature. Each Zipline is a new adventure with custom built platforms, rope bridges and more. You’ll enjoy hours of fun with the perfect blend of height and distance.
- ARRIVE AT ECO PARK RESORT
The closest accommodations to the Blast Zone! Eco Park Resort is a 90-acre resort with log cabins and
things to do include: guided horseback tours, and private restaurant. Learn about the history from a lodge owner’s perspective (The youngest of the Smith Family which owned and operated the Spirit Lake Lodge) before, during, and after: 34 years in the making.
*Other Activities nearby: Helicopter tours flying out of Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center…
just 3 miles from Mark Smiths Eco Park Resort at 17000 Spirit Lake Hwy.
- Arrive Forest Learning Center
The Forest Learning center is open to the public from May to September. Walk through a life-like forest, and experience the eruption chamber. Learn about forest recovery, reforestation, and conservation. See spectacular views of the Mountain, elk, and replanted forests. Hike a short trail through the planted forest and learn about biodiversity.
- Exhibits – provide updates and illustrate how forests are managed today to ensure that there will be forests in the future.
- “The Forest That Was” – sights, sounds, feel of the forest that was right before the 1980 eruption.
- “Eruption Chamber” – this program makes you feel as though you are an eyewitness to the blast.
- “Salvage, Recovery, and Reforestation” – destruction caused by the eruption, and the return of life.
- “Virtual Chopper Tour” – sit in a helicopter, view Mount St. Helens and surrounding landscapes.
- “Forests Tomorrow” – see how we manage forests to protect the habitat.
- “Forests Always” – appreciate the resiliency of forests at Mount St. Helens
- Depart Forest Learning Center
- Arrive Johnston Ridge Observatory
Johnston Ridge Observatory is named for volcanologist David Johnston, who was camped at the site when Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. His final words – called in via shortwave radio – were …“Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it!” Johnston’s body has never been found. Johnston Ridge Observatory is the crown jewel of Southwest Washington and the closest view to the crater of Mount St. Helens. Spectacular views, awesome hiking trails and breathtaking photo opportunities await you
• Movie – “Message from the Mountain” eruption movie.
• Interpretive Talk/Displays – portray the sequence of geologic events that transformed the landscape and opened up a new era in the science of monitoring an active volcano and forecasting eruptions.
• Closest View to Mount St. Helens – Visitors can expect to see views of the lava dome, crater, pumice plain, and the landslide deposit.
• USFS Staff Ranger Talk
- DEPARTS JOHNSTON RIDGE OBSERVATORY
- Arrive at Hummocks Trail/Coldwater Lake
Hummocks – The trail loops 2.3 easy miles through mounds of debris shaped by erosion. In the hummocks you can inspect the multicolored volcanic debris, and enjoy views of Mount St. Helens and the Toutle River. Ponds that have formed between the Hummocks are host to new life: there are wildflowers, frogs, deer, elk, and coyote.
Coldwater Lake – Located 45 miles east of Castle Rock in the heart of the blast zone. Experience the effect that the May 18, 1980 eruption had on the Coldwater Valley. Walk on the .25 miles “Birth of a Lake” interpretive trail, and enjoy close-up views of this 20 year old lake. Facilities include picnic tables, restrooms, and fish cleaning station, boat-launch, and hands-on discovery area.
- Depart Hummocks Trail and Coldwater Lake
- Arrive back in Portland