One of the most sought-after aspects of the ministry here at the Mount St Helens Creation Center is that of the popular full day excursions along the road leading to Mount St Helens, through the Toutle Valley. Some of these include hikes along some of the trails. These excursions last a full day, and are a major undertaking; there are no other Mount St Helens tours organized on such an extensive basis. To get a feel for the enormous amount covered in these tours, click on the video link to the above.
Park Opening Dates:
Please note that the Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument opening dates for 2019 are estimated as follows:
Johnstone Ridge, last 8 miles of Spirit Lake Highway: May 18th 2019
South Side interpretative sites, Lava Canyon, Lahar Viewpoint: early June 2019
East Side interpretative sites, Scorch Zone, Harmony Trail, Windy Ridge: July 1st 2019
These dates are estimates only (as of Feb 5th 2019). As soon as the Park publishes more accurate dates, we will post them here.
If there are not sufficient bookings for a particular excursion, then we may find it necessary to cancel the excursion – so please check the website for details. Please do not just turn up without checking, as you might be disappointed.
As a ministry, we manage these excursions simply on donations. As a guide, we would suggest that your group consider a donation, calculated as follows: $15 per person, with a minimum of $250 per group. On days where there are scheduled groups, we would invite you to consider $15 per person, to join the group. If you are booking a group excursion, we would ask that 25% of your booking donation be paid no later than 14 days before your planned excursion date, as a non-returnable deposit*. The remainder can be paid on the day.
We have developed 3 excursions, at the current time, with a 4th one in preparation. Pages about these excursions, and downloadable pdfs, are given below.
|West Side||East Side||South Side||Columbia Gorge|
To get to our Center, leave I-5 at exit 49, and drive into Castle Rock. Fork right after the railway bridge.
Please note that on all trails, centers, parking lots etc within the National Volcanic Monument, and several other places locally, pets are prohibited. Please don’t shoot the messanger – this is not my rule, but you should note that you will not, therefore, be able to bring pets with you on these excursions.
Things to see on the tours
Forest Learning Center
This is a good place to stop to eat sack lunches outdoors, if the time is right. The center also has a gift shop, and affords excellent views of the volcano. This is a good spot to find out about the replanting of the forest, following the eruption.
Castle Lake Viewpoint
Spectacular views of the landslide and valley areas, with an overview of the National Volcanic Monument and the Hummocks area.
Johnston Ridge Observatory
This is the place for the best views of the volcano, looking right into the north-facing crater. The observatory features two very interesting films, which end with a remarkable jaw-dropping twist – but I will not give the game away by telling you what it is!
For more information about this observatory, see the special page we have put together about it. When we reach the observatory, the car tour is at an end, and our visitors then make their own way back West out of the valley.
Book an Excursion!
So why not book an excursion right now? Just contact us; the contact details are on the contact page, which is why it is called the contact page. However, we will shortly have an online excursion enquiry form to aid with booking tours.
*If it is necessary for the Mount St Helens Creation Center to cancel the excursion, then your deposit will be returned – unless you wish to re-schedule it!