On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted in a mushroom shaped column of ash that rose thousands of feet skyward, turning day in tonight. In 1982, Congress created the 110,000 acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation and education. The Monument, which left to respond naturally to disturbance, is a one of a kind destination for mountain climbing, hiking, fishing and exploration.
Located in the heart of the Blast Zone, Johnston Ridge Observatory offers a wide-screen theater presentation, interactive displays, photos and artifacts from the 1980 eruption, and stunning views into the steaming volcano including the growing lava dome and the world’s youngest glacier. Learn how volcanoes are monitored and discover how Mt. St. Helens has taught us new answers to old mysteries from other volcanoes around the globe. While hiking on one of the many trails you can see first hand how nature has sprung back from the devastation and is now flourishing once again. Your guide will be on the lookout for wildlife, including deer, elk, beavers, otters, and a diverse array of bird species as you explore this young landscape. If you want a closer look at the crater, consider a thrilling helicopter tour of the mountain and Blast Zone! On the South side of the mountain is Ape Cave, the largest continuous lava tube in the continental United States. Here you can enjoy hiking in old growth forest and spelunking in caves that once contained rivers of molten rock.
Another family-friendly option is Sea quest State Park, Which offers scenic camping, hiking and picnic areas, and the Silver Lake Wetlands Trail. With First Nature you can always pick and choose from a long list of options to make your experience a perfect fit!