Mount Saint Helens is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most-powerful and most-memorable landscapes. On this TripAdvisor ‘Hall of Fame’ small-group tour from Portland, you’ll visit both the forested southern slopes of the volcano and the barren landscapes of the blast zone. As you drive along Spirit Lake Highway, you’ll stop to take a peaceful walk along the Hummocks Trail or pause to reflect alongside the cool blue waters of Coldwater Lake.
At the Johnston Ridge Observatory, you can walk along the blast-swept Eruption Trail, which offers panoramic views over the devastation and toward the mountain’s crater. In summer, the recovering landscape teems with purple lupine and other wildflowers – you might catch a distant herd of elk by their dust cloud! You’ll also have time to explore the Johnston Ridge Observatory Visitor Center to learn more about how volcanoes are monitored.
We’ll offer stops at some of our favorite highlights like Coldwater Lake, the Hummocks Trail, or Silver Lake. Discover how the local ecosystems are reemerging and evolving after the famed 1980 eruption. 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 to experience our places firsthand.
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 bakery, local coffee and tea. We’ll also bring a fresh, local, family-style lunch with local wines! Snacks, sparkling water and water are included all day.
8:30A: Downtown Pickups
9:30A: Travel the Spirit Lake Highway
As you approach the unique volcanic landscapes of the National Volcanic Monument. We’ll likely stop to press coffee, make tea, and have a light morning snack somewhere along our journey.
Stop to stretch your legs along the Hummocks Trail or at Coldwater Lake
After lunch and a 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).
Take another stroll – likely candidates include the Eruption Trail from Johnston Ridge or the Hummocks Trail from lower on the mountain.
Arrive and explore the Johnston Ridge Observatory
5:30P: Arrive Back in Portland
Approximate arrival back in downtown Portland.