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Johnston Ridge Observatory

Open Now: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Open today: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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Traveler Overview
  • Excellent79%
  • Very good17%
  • Average2%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“mt st”(42 reviews)
“visitor center”(50 reviews)
“ranger talk”(21 reviews)
A small observatory poised dramatically on a cliff overlooking the debris left over from the famous 1980 volcano explosion.
Open Now
Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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21500 Spirit Lake Highway, Toutle, WA 98649
+1 360-274-2140
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Reviews (451)
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All reviews mt st visitor center ranger talk food truck in the parking lot active volcano volcanic eruption visitors centers short movie national park pass hiking trails great view of mt mother nature gift shop worth the trip clean restrooms spirit lake castle rock
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1 - 10 of 437 reviews
Reviewed 3 November 2018

We spent quite a while here, listening to an interesting talk by one of the Rangers and reading the survival stories. The view from the observatory is amazing.

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank Mamachoco
Reviewed 24 October 2018

Incredible views right opposite the crater. Lots of good information boards. Inside there was a small shop, a model, some info boards and a short informational movie (nothing you can't see on youtube). The ranger talk outside was really interesting and informative (but anyone could...More

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank Sue R
Reviewed 23 October 2018 via mobile

Although I have been visiting Washington State since 1980 when the great mountain erupted, this was my first trip dedicated to exploring Mount St. Helens. The drive to Johnston Ridge is scenic and educational. There are several places to stop along the way for recreational...More

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank LisaB595
Reviewed 18 October 2018

The observatory is small, but well worth a day visit. The views are spectacular, and the displays are very interesting. My wife and I were particularly impressed by the stories of the survivors of the 1980 eruption. A large photograph of the mountain which was...More

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank MidwestTraveller89
Reviewed 5 October 2018

This place has a really good film about the re-population of the Mt St Helens area after the eruption of Mt St Helens.

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank Jan C
Reviewed 3 October 2018

This place really emphasizes nature's immense power and it's ability to recreate itself so quickly. Mt. St. Helens is not the most beautiful mountain to look at, but this observatory really helps a visitor find the inner beauty. Hikes galore, no need to get a...More

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank TyGuy101
Reviewed 2 October 2018 via mobile

Pressed for time, we nearly passed this up. After all, desolate-looking Mount St. Helens can be viewed multiple places along the route. But don’t be tempted to move on without experiencing nature’s resiliency up close. The engrossing video ends with the screen rising to reveal...More

Date of experience: September 2018
1  Thank denisedL1796YV
Reviewed 1 October 2018 via mobile

Quite breezy on the day we arrived so our plan of hiking the trail close to the observatory was cut short, but we’ll definitely be back! Beautiful! So awesome to see the growth since the eruption; i was 13 then!

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank Terri B
Reviewed 1 October 2018 via mobile

Wonderful for an up close look at the volcanic crater. The visitors center is huge and has much to offer. We watched a short film that was very informative about the mountains history and aftermath of the eruptions. No regrets making the drive through such...More

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank Global103146
Reviewed 29 September 2018

Instead of telling you how great everything is, which it is, I will use this space to provide you with a few tips to help you navigate your trip to the Observatory: Bring your own food or stop at a restaurant on the way there...More

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank Jim G
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Questions & Answers
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Ben D
10 August 2018|
AnswerShow all 7 answers
Response from htsteacher | Reviewed this property |
Not really sure. We bought our pass inside the observatory and we were there in the afternoon.
25 March 2018|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from kumtux | Reviewed this property |
The road to the observatory is generally open from May through October depending on the snow pack. Since Memorial Day is the very end of May, the road should be open. I imagine that the Observatory will be open for the... More
annette w
18 January 2018|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from PatB-Sonoma | Reviewed this property |
The campground accepts RV's up to 28' long, so your 22' will have no problem.