So much to see, I recommend planning a full day to see all that this place has to share. Multiple visitor centers, viewpoints, and areas to explore. The first stop should be the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center at Silver Lake. A museum and exhibits tell the story of the area, while very nice trails allow you to walk out and get a beautiful view of the mountain.
MOUNT ST. HELENS VISITOR CENTER
After that you will head up the mountain for a long ways, with amazing sights and places to explore along the way.
Mount St. Helens (known as Lawetlat’la to the indigenous Cowlitz people, and Loowit or Louwala-Clough to the Klickitat) is an active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Portland, Oregon and 96 miles (154 km) south of Seattle, Washington. Mount St. Helens takes its English name from the British diplomat Lord St Helens, a friend of explorer George Vancouver who made a survey of the area in the late 18th century. The volcano is located in the Cascade Range and is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire that includes over 160 active volcanoes. This volcano is well known for its ash explosions and pyroclastic flows.
Mount St. Helens is most notorious for its major 1980 eruption, the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in U.S. history. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed. A massive debris avalanche triggered by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale caused an eruption that reduced the elevation of the mountain’s summit from 9,677 ft (2,950 m) to 8,363 ft (2,549 m), leaving a 1 mile (1.6 km) wide horseshoe-shaped crater. The debris avalanche was up to 0.7 cubic miles (2.9 km3) in volume. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created to preserve the volcano and allow for the eruption’s aftermath to be scientifically studied.