Quote of the Month:

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own." - Charles Dickens

Johnston Ridge Observatory

Parent Category: Attractions
Created: 25 March 2014

Pictures and the video below will take you on a virtual trip around Johnston Ridge Observatory. Enjoy the beauty of Mount St. Helens and its' huge crater!

Address: 21500 Spirit Lake Highway, Toutle, WA 98649
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
May 10, 2014-Oct. 26, 2014
Fees: 15 & Under - Free
16+  - $8.00
Passes: National Volcanic Monument Pass
Information Center: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters and Visitor Centers
Photo from Johnston Ridge ObservatoryOVERVIEW

The Johnston Ridge Observatory is located just in five and a half miles from the crater, which was created after the eruption of the volcano in 1980. The observatory sits at an elevation of 4,314 feet and offers wonderful views of the crater, Mount St. Helens and the surrounding territories.

Johnston Ridge Observatory is located at the end of State Highway 504, and this Visitors Center is the closest place to the mountain that can be reached by car. The observatory features wonderful educational and interpretive displays that tell about the history of the eruption and about human stories that were touched by the blast.

Photo from Johnston Ridge Observatory

The ridge got its name in honor of David Johnston, the volcanologist of the U.S. Geological Survey who was on duty during the eruption of Mount St. Helens on Sunday, May 18, 1980. The volcanologist was one of 57 people who died on that day. It should be also said that special seismic, deformation monitoring equipment that passes data to the U.S. Geological Survey for analysis, is found here.

The first thing that should be visited in the observatory is a well-equipped theater where visitors watch a film about the eruption. After the educational movie, the screen at the theater rises and a perfect view of Mount St. Helens is opened. The observatory is a perfect place to explore the crater, lava dome, the landside deposit and the pumice plain.

Photo from Johnston Ridge Observatory

But visitors should not stop here, because the area offers a number of scenic hiking trails with wonderful views of Mount St. Helens, its’ crater and beautiful lakes. Remember that pets are not allowed. The Johnston Ridge Observatory is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May till October, and it is closed in winter.


From I-5:

Take Exit 49 in Castle Rock and go east. Johnston Ridge Observatory is located at the end of State Highway 504.

These pictures were taken on July 17, 2013


In order to get directions, click on the map below

Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Photo Editing: Pavlo Petryshyn

Information: Marina Petrova

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