Mt. St. Helens Updates
Update from May 14th, 2023:
Overnight on May 14th, Spirit Lake Highway leading up to Mt. St. Helens experienced a massive mudslide due to rapid melting of snowpack following a weekend of exceptionally warm spring temperatures. The mudslide is currently blocking access to Spirit Lake Highway just before Coldwater Lake and the Hummocks Trail and about 9 miles before Johnston Ridge Observatory. The debris flow also destroyed a bridge along the highway that offers the only access point to Johnston Ridge via car.
Currently, experts are evaluating the area for safety and stability of the uphill slopes along the highway before allowing visitor access and recreation to resume in the area. This means that Mt. St. Helens is currently inaccessible and we are unable to offer tours to this area for the time being.
We hope to have an answer by mid-June about the access options for Spirit Lake Highway and the Mt. St. Helens area for the remainder of the season. We will continue to reach out to guests currently scheduled for tours later in the season as we know more information. We are hopeful we will be able to offer a modified version of the tour by late June to early July for travelers hoping to explore the ever-changing landscape around Mt. St. Helens!
Please direct any additional questions to our customer service team at 206-650-5795.
One of the most astonishing landscapes on the planet – Mt. St. Helens is like nowhere you’ve been before.
This beautiful journey takes you into the ravaged heart of Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. View the massive crater from renowned Johnston Ridge Visitors Center and experience ecosystems recovering from the 1980 eruption as you walk through the blast-swept National Monument.
This isn’t just another driving tour of a beautiful landscape—we prefer to keep travelers outside the vehicle for walks and exploration. You may stop at Lewis & Clark State Park to bask in the shadow of the old-growth forests that once covered the northern reaches of the mountain, or at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge to explore estuary wetlands.
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 the recently formed 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.
Join a few other travelers (each trip is ten people or fewer) and an award-winning guide on a real exploration of our wild home. Don’t worry – we’ll take care of everything! If you’re staying downtown (hotel, AirBNB, etc) we’ll pick you up! We’ll text/call the day prior to your trip to confirm exact timing. We’re bringing breakfast pastries, local coffee and tea. We’ll also bring a fresh, local, family-style lunch, and plenty of snacks, sparkling water and water are included all day.
7-7:30A Downtown Pickups
Generally, our last pickup for each tour occurs at the Hotel Monaco in Seattle. This isn’t always the case – so check with us – but we consider it a default location for anyone staying outside of downtown. Let our team know where you’re staying and we’ll do everything we can to make your pickup as easy as possible.
SeaTac Airport & Tacoma area Pick-ups: We’re happy to offer centralized pickup options en route to the National Park upon request. On our Mount Rainier tour we can offer pick-ups in:
- SeaTac Airport Area: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport. 18740 International Blvd, Seattle, WA 98188.
- Tacoma Area: Comfort Inn and Suites Downtown Tacoma. 2611 East E Street, Tacoma, WA 98421.
8a SeaTac OR Tacoma Area Pickups (By Request)
10a Pit Stop
We’ll likely stop to press coffee, make tea, and have a light breakfast outdoors with a view. You may stretch your legs with an exploration of Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge or Lewis and Clark State Park.
From here, the course of your day can go so many ways. Your guide will combine group preferences, weather considerations, mixed ecosystems and highlights, crowd avoidance, and more to create a lovely day. No two trips are the same!
11:30a ARRIVE AT MT. ST. HELENS NATIONAL MONUMENT
You might start with a nice lower-elevation walk to get your legs moving after the commute. Hikes like the Hummocks along the Toutle River illustrate the extreme landscape changes created by a major volcanic eruption. Your walk might be one to three miles.
Lunch along the route toward Johnston Ridge. If the weather is decent you’ll enjoy a meal outdoors. If the weather is challenging, we’ll likely opt for a comfortable spot inside.
2:15p Arrive at Johnston Ridge Visitor Center
Enjoy a little downtime to use the restroom, browse interpretive info, photograph flowers (or snow), or find a quick gift for a loved one back home. From here, we’ll likely set off on another walkabout like the Eruption Trail. All told, you might walk two to four miles in the afternoon (depending on your other activities).
Please note: the Johnston Ridge Visitor Center has been closed through the COVID-19 pandemic. We still spend a lot of time here because of the panoramic views and great ridgeline trails accessible from Johnston Ridge, but we don’t currently have access to the exhibits indoors. (Updated: Sept 2021)
4p Head Back to Seattle
We’ll drop travelers off where we found them (or another preferred spot nearby).