Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument

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3029 Spirit Lake Highway, Amboy, WA, USA
Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument - Close up of Mt. St. Helens
Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument - Mt. St. Helens
Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument - Mt. St. Helens from inside
Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument - directional deadfall
Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument - Toutle River
Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument - Johnston Ridge Observatory

Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument Amboy Reviews

aruelito aruelito
9 reviews
Easy but awesome climb to the summit Apr 24, 2011
This is a very good introduction to mountaineering; i'd recommend it to anyone wanting to try the sport out. it's not too long of a climb but you'll need to take plenty of water and food. (I thought it'd be a 4-5 hour hike so I took no food and no water cuz according to my thinking: there was a ton of snow/ice I could drink...this wouldnt be such a bad thing if it werent for the fact that warming up snow/ice in your mouth is kinda painful.
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alyssa_ob alyssa_ob
244 reviews
Powerful experience Jun 18, 2004
Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. The effects of the eruption were devastating. The north face of the mountain bulged and then blew off. The resulting mud and debris flow roared down the Toutle River valley destroying everything in its path. An ash cloud rose about 15 miles into the air as the volcano erupted for 9 hours. The ash traveled east as far as northwestern Minnesota, northern New Mexico and even central Oklahoma! When all was said and done, 57 people had died, over 7000 large animals had perished, 200 homes were destroyed and over 200 miles of highway and railways were damaged. The symmetrical cone shaped volcano was reduced by 1000 ft in elevation and replaced by a horse-shoe shaped crater.

The Johnston Ridge Observatory, at the end of Hwy 504, has a great viewing area of the crater, a very powerful video on the eruption, and incredible stories and photos. You can walk a short trail to the viewing area then look around and see all this destruction still visible more than 20 years later. All the trees are still blown down radially from the blast, the trunks now bleached from the weather. Flowers are just starting to peek out of the ash that is everywhere. A little clump of grass here, a couple of flowers there, the land is regenerating.

Off in the distance, the Toutle River is still flowing around debris from the eruption that never washed down the valley. You can barely make out the stream amidst the mud that still covers the valley. Just below, you can see hummocks - or large pieces of the volcano that blew off during the eruption.

Depending on the season, not all of the roads are open in the park and it can take a few hours to get to the southern viewing areas (shorter later in summer when roads are open). It takes a few hours minimum to visit the observatory from the interstate, but it is well worth it.
Close up of Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St. Helens from inside
directional deadfall
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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rotorhead85 says:
Wow, almost thirty years and still recovering...
Posted on: Jul 17, 2008

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