USDA Forest Service

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument


Gifford Pinchot
National Forest

Forest Headquarters
10600 N.E. 51st Circle
Vancouver, WA 98682
(360) 891-5000
TTY: (360) 891-5003

Cowlitz Valley
Ranger District

10024 US Hwy 12
PO Box 670
Randle, WA 98377
(360) 497-1100
TTY: (360) 497-1101

Mt. Adams
Ranger District

2455 Hwy 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650
(509) 395-3400
TTY: (360) 891-5003

Mount St. Helens
National Volcanic

Monument Headquarters
42218 N.E. Yale Bridge Rd.
Amboy, WA 98601
(360) 449-7800
TTY: (360) 891-5003

Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center
3029 Spirit Lake Highway
Castle Rock, WA 98611
(360) 274-2114

Johnston Ridge Observatory
3029 Spirit Lake Highway
Castle Rock, WA 98611
(360) 274-2140

Mount St. Helens
Visitor Center

3029 Spirit Lake Highway
Castle Rock, WA 98611
(360) 274-0962
(Operated by Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission)


Image Link Photo: Click here to take you to the Mount St. Helens Volcanocam!

At 8:32 Sunday morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted.

Shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. Nearly 230 square miles of forest was blown down or buried beneath volcanic deposits. At the same time a mushroom-shaped column of ash rose thousands of feet skyward and drifted downwind, turning day into night as dark, gray ash fell over eastern Washington and beyond. The eruption lasted 9 hours, but Mount St. Helens and the surrounding landscape were dramatically changed within moments.

In 1982, the President and Congress created the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation, and education. Inside the Monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to the disturbance.


Mount St. Helens Climbing Update

Updated: 31 October 2006 -- Beginning Wednesday, November 1, 2006, through March 31, 2007, those climbing Mount St Helens will need to self register at Jack’s Restaurant in Cougar, Washington, to obtain a climbing permit. Climbing permits are not limited during the winter season and no fee is charged from November 1 through March 31. See the Mount St. Helens Climbing pages for more information.

On the Monument Today
  • Mount St. Helens Update - The latest information including earthquakes, volcano advisories, visitor access information, hiking trails and camping.
  • Live VolcanoCam - Image of Mount St. Helens as viewed from the Johnston Ridge Observatory.
  • Teacher's Corner - For teachers, educators and students planning field trips to Mount St. Helens.

General Visitor Information

Photo Image Link: USGS Photograph by Austin Post - Mount St. Helens erupting May 18, 1980.

May 18, 1980 eruption - USGS photograph by Austin Post.

About Mount St. Helens

  • Visit and Discover the Drama of an Active Volcano - A brief description of Mount St. Helens and the National Volcanic Monument.
  • 25 Years of Change - Impacts of the 1980 eruption and landscape recovery revealed through repeat photographs
  • Life Returns FAQs: Information about plant and animal recovery following the 1980 eruption
  • Digital Library - Photographs and other information before and after the eruption.
  • Mount St. Helens Volcano Review - The Volcano Review is published annually during the summer and distributed throughout the Monument and surrounding local communities for folks visiting Mount St. Helens. We've reproduced the current issue on our web site, and have included downloads so you can read it offline as well.

Climb, Hike, Learn

Photo Image Link: Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center Sign - December 2002.

Snow-covered Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center Sign - December 2002

Planning Your Visit

Visitor Centers

Photo Image Link: May 1980 eruption.

May 1980 Eruption

Related Information

  • Photo Gallery - View before and after images of the volcano.
  • Mount St. Helens Institute - a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving stewardship and appreciation of the dynamic natural environment surrounding the volcano.
  • Volunteering - Become a Volcano Volunteer at Mount St. Helens

Contact Us!

  • Phone Numbers - Important telephone numbers for Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  • We Want To Hear From You! - Please tell us what you think about our web site, information, and/or services. Please include contact information, so we can reach you in case we have any questions.

Additional Information

  • Charles W. Bingham Forest Learning Center At Mount St. Helens - Open daily at 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., May through October. Closing times may vary in September and October. The Washington Department of Transportation, Weyerhaeuser Company and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation are partners in this visitor center, rest area and viewpoint for elk herds in the valley below the center.
  • USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station Scientists arrived within weeks to assess disturbance effects and study initial and long-term ecological responses. Research has revealed how species and ecological processes respond to disturbance, and has contributed to planning for the recovery of other disturbed areas.
  • - Information about our area presented by local folks. Plus, access to a database of visitor resources and a variety of links to informative web sites.
  • - Mount St. Helens Information Resource Center, your one stop source for hiking, shopping, lodging, touring, dining, and viewing information. Follow the footprints to begin your Mount St. Helens adventure.
  • Pacific Seismograph Network - In addition to locating regional earthquakes, the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network, in cooperation with the Cascades Volcano Observatory, is also responsible for monitoring seismic activity at volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest.
  • United States Geological Survey - Volcano information, especially Mount St. Helens.


USDA Forest Service
Gifford Pinchot National Forest - Vancouver, WA
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument - Amboy, WA
Last Modified: Friday, 17 November 2006 at 13:45:27 EST

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.