Things to do in Washington
Mount St. Helens
5
About
While access to the still-steaming crater is forbidden, tourists flock to see what remains of this famous volcano.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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Top ways to experience Mount St. Helens and nearby attractions

The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
2 within 10 kms
See what travellers are saying
  • Abby
    Alameda, California47 contributions
    Fun Day-Trip
    We were in the area and visited for the day. We started with the main visitor center where we walked through the little museum, watched the 15 minute film about the 1980 eruption, and did the .5 mile nature walk. Then we drove an hour up to Coldwater and visited the visitor center there, which had the best views of the crater, and did a little hike around the lake. Currently Coldwater is the closest you can get due to a recent mudslide which they don’t know how long it’ll take to repair the road, potentially years.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 30 June 2023
  • Roadtripnana
    Point Pleasant, West Virginia418 contributions
    Mount St Helens, Ape Cave, and Lava Canyon
    First, we didn’t know there were 3 visitors centers, so be prepared for that. They are far apart and each has different view points. We chose the first one on the left and then went on to the Ape Cave and Lava Canyon area instead of driving to the crater side due to time. You do have to have reservations for ape cave in order to go there. So many trails to hike. Lava canyon and ape cave is a MUST if you’re visiting this volcano! They were the highlights of our visit. You’ll need flashlights for the cave as well.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 3 July 2023
  • ndantonio
    New York City, New York209 contributions
    LOVE THIS VOLCANO
    we drove first to the Mt. St. Helens Interpretive Center just beyond Castle Rock. There is a nice, distant view of the volcano and interesting exhibits. We continued driving to the Forest Learning Center and Elk Viewpoints. There were beautiful views along that drive. The Forest Learning Center has a 6 min movie about the eruption that runs pretty much continuously. After this we drove back out 504 and down route 5 to 503 towards Cougar. We were hoping to see the Ape Cave but it is available only by advance online booking and they were sold out for the rest of that day. The road up to Ape Cave and the Lava Canyon was very winding and bumpty so it took longer than you would think given the distance. Close to Ape Cave was the Trail of Two Forests Interpretive walk that was very nice. It's a shaded boardwalk through the forest with explanations of how the lava flows and how the forest regenerates itself. It was a pleasant surprise after the disappointment of Ape Cave having been sold out. We continued on that road to Lava Canyon. There were fabulous views of the volcano along this road!! The Lava Canyon turned out to be a fabulous hike although the suspension bridge was closed so we could not do the loop. We camped at Cougar Campground and had a lovely site right on the reservoir where it was very quiet & clean.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 8 July 2023
  • Cryptic_Tourist
    Saint Louis, Missouri742 contributions
    Incredible National Monument
    This was another bucket list item for my husband and I! We grew up hearing about the eruption, we were both born about a decade after it happened, but we were fascinated with the story and the history! We were not disappointed. If you get there right when the first visitor center opens it really isn’t that busy. There’s a lot of different merch options at all of the stops along the 504, when we went there was a recent mud slide that closed off the very last bit of the road but that didn’t matter, we still had excellent views and thoroughly enjoyed the stunning drive. All of the volunteers at the science learning center were so kind and wonderful. I can’t recommend this monument enough, it was so wonderful!
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 12 July 2023
  • MarcMis96
    Arab, Alabama111 contributions
    Very Educational Place to Visit
    This is a must stop for anybody traveling through the area. The visitor center at the entrance to the park is nice. It has clean bathrooms, a nice gift shop, interesting displays, and helpful staff. Parts of the park were closed, but we were able to go to the science and learning center. There is a wonderful view on the backside of the building. There is also a short video that you can watch that is great. It has lots of info and images about the eruption. There is also a small gift ship located inside the science and learning center.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 22 July 2023
  • Elizabeth H
    5 contributions
    Viewing of Mount St. Helens.
    Very interesting to visit. See the film that is at the first visitor center. The learning center down the road 40 miles has interesting information as well. The observatory is closed due to a mud slide. We had a great day, so could see most of the mountain. Pretty drive, windy. Incredible what happened and how it altered the landscape.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 23 October 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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5.0
509 reviews
Excellent
413
Very good
80
Average
13
Poor
1
Terrible
2

Diane Y
2 contributions
Dec 2023 • Family
Unable to get to see anything, road closed, it would have been nice to know at the bottom that road was closed 😞
Written 20 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Elizabeth H
5 contributions
Oct 2023 • Family
Very interesting to visit. See the film that is at the first visitor center. The learning center down the road 40 miles has interesting information as well. The observatory is closed due to a mud slide. We had a great day, so could see most of the mountain. Pretty drive, windy. Incredible what happened and how it altered the landscape.
Written 23 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rheinhold Festung
Oak Park, IL214 contributions
Jul 2023
We did not hike the mountain. We visited all three of the educational centers which was well worth the trip.
Written 26 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MarcMis96
Arab, AL111 contributions
Jul 2023 • Family
This is a must stop for anybody traveling through the area. The visitor center at the entrance to the park is nice. It has clean bathrooms, a nice gift shop, interesting displays, and helpful staff. Parts of the park were closed, but we were able to go to the science and learning center. There is a wonderful view on the backside of the building. There is also a short video that you can watch that is great. It has lots of info and images about the eruption. There is also a small gift ship located inside the science and learning center.
Written 22 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cryptic_Tourist
Saint Louis, MO742 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
This was another bucket list item for my husband and I! We grew up hearing about the eruption, we were both born about a decade after it happened, but we were fascinated with the story and the history! We were not disappointed. If you get there right when the first visitor center opens it really isn’t that busy. There’s a lot of different merch options at all of the stops along the 504, when we went there was a recent mud slide that closed off the very last bit of the road but that didn’t matter, we still had excellent views and thoroughly enjoyed the stunning drive. All of the volunteers at the science learning center were so kind and wonderful. I can’t recommend this monument enough, it was so wonderful!
Written 12 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ndantonio
New York City, NY209 contributions
Jul 2023 • Family
we drove first to the Mt. St. Helens Interpretive Center just beyond Castle Rock. There is a nice, distant view of the volcano and interesting exhibits. We continued driving to the Forest Learning Center and Elk Viewpoints. There were beautiful views along that drive. The Forest Learning Center has a 6 min movie about the eruption that runs pretty much continuously. After this we drove back out 504 and down route 5 to 503 towards Cougar. We were hoping to see the Ape Cave but it is available only by advance online booking and they were sold out for the rest of that day. The road up to Ape Cave and the Lava Canyon was very winding and bumpty so it took longer than you would think given the distance. Close to Ape Cave was the Trail of Two Forests Interpretive walk that was very nice. It's a shaded boardwalk through the forest with explanations of how the lava flows and how the forest regenerates itself. It was a pleasant surprise after the disappointment of Ape Cave having been sold out. We continued on that road to Lava Canyon. There were fabulous views of the volcano along this road!! The Lava Canyon turned out to be a fabulous hike although the suspension bridge was closed so we could not do the loop. We camped at Cougar Campground and had a lovely site right on the reservoir where it was very quiet & clean.
Written 8 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Roadtripnana
Point Pleasant, WV418 contributions
Jul 2023 • Family
First, we didn’t know there were 3 visitors centers, so be prepared for that. They are far apart and each has different view points. We chose the first one on the left and then went on to the Ape Cave and Lava Canyon area instead of driving to the crater side due to time. You do have to have reservations for ape cave in order to go there. So many trails to hike. Lava canyon and ape cave is a MUST if you’re visiting this volcano! They were the highlights of our visit. You’ll need flashlights for the cave as well.
Written 3 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Abby
Alameda, CA47 contributions
Jun 2023 • Family
We were in the area and visited for the day. We started with the main visitor center where we walked through the little museum, watched the 15 minute film about the 1980 eruption, and did the .5 mile nature walk. Then we drove an hour up to Coldwater and visited the visitor center there, which had the best views of the crater, and did a little hike around the lake. Currently Coldwater is the closest you can get due to a recent mudslide which they don’t know how long it’ll take to repair the road, potentially years.
Written 30 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

marriott946
London, UK674 contributions
Jun 2023 • Friends
This is a very difficult site to comprehend, a disaster but a disaster of natural disasters, not something man has done.

Both visitor centres were open and they needed visiting. One much closer to the mountain which still stands proud but steaming and headless.

This isn't just about taking a picture it's about history, a history that will be repeated I imagine.

Written 7 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mktpro99
West Palm Beach, FL1,291 contributions
May 2023 • Friends
Even though some of the roads were closed due to a rock slide, both visitor centers were open. Go past the Forest center for the best views of the volcano. Interesting films in both centers.
Written 19 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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MOUNT ST. HELENS: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)