Mt. St. Helens National Monument from Portland

Full Day Tour from Portland: Mt. St. Helens and Ape Cave

Mt. St. Helens is one of our region’s most-iconic and “powerful” attractions.

Join a Mt. St. Helens Tour!View Tour Photos.


Descend into the Ape Cave lava tube, watch for elk grazing in the gaze of the smoldering crater, and enjoy colorful wildflowers against the barren landscapes. On this small-group Mt. St. Helens Tour from Portland, your TripAdvisor ‘Hall of Fame’ naturalist guide will share the significance of the 1980 volcanic eruption through captivating stories and interpretative nature walks. You’ll also discover how the local ecosystems are reemerging and evolving. Witness incredible stories of survival and experience the resilience of nature demonstrated by this rebounding environment! This isn’t just another driving tour of a beautiful landscape—we prefer to keep travelers outside the vehicle for walks and exploration.

Once in the Volcanic Monument, you’ll traverse the barren landscapes, stopping for a peaceful hike along the Hummocks Trail or to take in the still blue waters of Coldwater Lake. At Johnston Ridge Observatory you’ll embark on an interpretive walk along the famous Eruption Trail. The trail offers sweeping views of the blast zone and crater and teems with stunning purple lupine and other flowers in the mid-to-late summer.

Throughout the tour your guide will mix fascinating insights with opportunities for solitude as you come to appreciate Mt. St. Helens’ pristine wild side. We bring lots of food, coffee, tea and local wine! Our small group Mt. St. Helens Day Tour is $225 per person.  We’ll pick you up from your downtown hotel, AirBNB or rental!

We also offer beautiful private trips–give us a call or send us a note to find out more.

Mt. St. Helens Tour

Join us! Select your tour date in our calendar.

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TIMING

8:30 am to 6:30 pm
We visit Mt. St. Helens May 15 to October 31.
We’ll text/call you the day before your trip to schedule your pickup! See more about pick-up & drop-off below.

GROUP SIZE

Our small group tours from Portland accommodate a maximum of ten travelers.
You’ll travel in a comfortable Mercedes Sprinter or new Ford Transit van.

PRICE

$225 per person.

Private trips are available – see details below. Give us a call or send us a note to find out more.

INCLUSIONS

We have the best guides in the Pacific Northwest.  They’ll bring plenty of food and drink, pay all entrance fees, and bring any gear you might need.

Mt. St. Helens and Ape Cave Tour Details

Complimentary pick-up and drop-off at your downtown accommodations (hotel, AirBNB, rental, etc.).

A local, TripAdvisor 'Hall of Fame' naturalist guide. We guarantee you'll love your trip leader!

No additional charges during your day. We cover everything you'll need during our tours (meals, drinks, entrance fees, permits, wine tasting fees, fuel, etc.).

A morning snack. We generally bring French-pressed coffee, tea, and bakery!

A gorgeous local picnic. We even bring linens, plates, silverware, for a not-so-rustic picnic-style lunch. Our offerings change frequently/seasonally - but often include turkey, ham, or vegetarian sandwiches, a grain or pasta salad, and hot soup. Let us know if you have dietary restrictions - we can accommodate most needs if we're aware of them prior to 24 hours of your tour start.

Plenty of readily-available snacks, water, sparkling water, and more throughout the day.

Comfortable transportation in brand new Ford Transit vans or Mercedes Sprinter vans. Most of our vehicles are built for 15 people - we only open ten seats per trip to leave plenty of space.

We provide any gear needed (headlamps and walking sticks for venturing into Mt. St. Helens’ caves).

⭐ Additional warm clothing is available upon request.

7:30a - Downtown pick-ups begin.

8:00a - Downtown pick-ups end.

9:30a – Approximate arrival at Ape Cave on the south side of Mt. St. Helens. Put on jackets to stay warm, and head underground for an hour-long cave walk. We'll likely press coffee, make tea, and have a light morning snack as we warm up once above ground again.

12:00p - After a lunch and restroom break, travel up the Spirit Lake Highway. Likely activities include a variety of viewpoints, walks, and local highlights - culminating in a trip to the Johnston Ridge Observatory (the nearest that one can travel by road to the volcano’s crater).

6:30p – Approximate arrival back in downtown Portland.

Downtown Portland Pick-ups:

Approximate Pick-up Start time: 7:30a

Downtown Pick-up End time: 8:00a

When booking, be sure to provide the phone number where we can reach you during your travels. Let our team know where you're staying and we'll do everything we can to make your pick-up as easy as possible. We’ll connect the day prior to your tour to confirm details. If you’re staying outside of downtown, our default downtown pick-up location is at the Hotel Monaco (506 SW Washington St.).

Other Pick-ups:

We're happy to offer pickup options en-route to the volcano upon request. If you are staying in the North Portland/Jantzen Beach areas you may find it advantageous to meet us at the Courtyard by Marriott Portland North (1231 N Anchor Way) or at the Red Lion Hotel on the River Janzten Beach (909 N. Hayden Island Dr.).

Are you looking to make your Portland Mt. St. Helens adventure even more intimate and comfortable? We offer beautiful private tours led by the Northwest's best field educators.

To inquire about private trip dates, give us a call!

1 person: $1000/person

2 people: $600/person

3 people: $433/person

4 people: $350/person

5 people: $300/person

6 people: $263/person

7 people: $232/person

8 people: $216/person

9 people: $200/person

10 people: $188/person

11 people: $177/person

12 people: $169/person

Please contact us for groups larger than 12 travelers for a custom quote. Groups larger than 12 generally require a second van, second guide, etc.

Savor a fresh, local, family-style lunch with local wines (included with tour price). We’ll also bring local coffee to press, tea, a light breakfast, and plenty of water and sparkling water for the day! Don’t worry about a thing…

Explore diverse & stunning environments on foot: volcano-blasted vistas, stunning Ape Cave, cool jewel lakes, and (in the summer) flower-strewn mountain meadows. Don’t forget your sturdy shoes!

Journey to Johnston Ridge to take in views of the mountain, wildflowers, and a world-class visitor center. Time permitting, the visitor center is home to two amazing movies about the blast.

Watch for Black-tail deer, Roosevelt elk, muskrats, mountain goats, salamanders, and more

Take refuge from the barren blast zone by kicking your feet up in the shade near Coldwater Lake!

Learn about the geology of Mt. St. Helens and the other volcanoes of the Cascades

Once-devastated Mt. St. Helens National Monument is unlike any landscape you’ve set foot in before…

Traveling north into Washington, you’ll visit both the forested south slopes of the volcano and the barren landscapes of the blast zone. As you drive along Spirit Lake Highway, you’ll stop to spelunk in the cool darkness of Ape Cave, and may take a peaceful walk along the Hummocks Trail or pause to reflect alongside the blue waters of Coldwater Lake.

After enjoying a picnic lunch, you’ll arrive at the Johnston Ridge Observatory to embark on an interpretive walk along the Eruption Trail. The trail offers sweeping views into the crater, and teems with purple lupine and other wildflowers in the mid-to-late summer. Before you leave, you’ll also have time to explore the Johnston Ridge Observatory Visitor Center to learn more about how volcanoes are monitored.

Find Your Tour!

Mt. St. Helens National Monument Tour – Traveler Testimonials

Here is what recent travelers have said about our Mt. St. Helens trips:

We highly recommend this 12 hour tour! Pleasant ride, plenty of beverages and snacks, and a series of stops to make the trip more comfortable. We pulled over at a few places to take in the view and snap photos. In the National Monument, our guide Marissa laid out a wonderful lunch consisting of wine, soft drinks, grilled chicken breasts and several salads (kale, chick pea, and some sort of grain). The Johnston Visitor Center was certainly a highlight of the tour supplying us with a great video, a hike, and clear views of Mount St. Helens. A GREAT tour!

-John H. (Viator Review)

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Day tour to Mt. St Helens was a great experience. Everything was well planned and prepared for. The tour van was a large Mercedes sprinter van that was very comfortable. Lunch was solid. The tour itself was very well planned with nice stops along the way to the volcano. The tour guide did a great job keeping everyone engaged by providing good information and fun facts…stuff that you don’t get if you go solo without a guide.
This tour was unique in the sense that there is more to the visit than just a visit to a national park/ monument. In this case there was a major event in the not-too-distant past that drastically altered the entire community and landscape. Was very cool to see the contrast between the immediate area around St Helens and the unaffected area leading up to it. Such a unique experience all the way around. I highly recommend it.

-Brijesh P. (TripAdvisor Review)

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Great experience for the money. They may be on the higher end of pricing for tour companies but they offer a high-touch and all-inclusive product along with some of the best guides in the business. Definitely a 5-star business!

-Kieron W. (Google Review)

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Mt St. Helen’s day tour was awesome. I went in not knowing what to expect and not knowing much of anything about Mt. St. Helen’s…booked the trip as I had a day to kill. This tour was fantastic. Comfy bus, awesome tour guide, good lunch and great scenery, nice group. Got a good workout too!!

-Billie Joe M. (TripAdvisor Review)

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