Mt. Mount Saint Helens Volcano, Washington

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Mount Saint Helens

Who doesn’t remember the famous Mount Saint Helens eruption? When this sleeping southwestern Washington volcano shook dramatically awake on May 18, 1980, the reverberations were felt around the world.

  • Mount Saint Helens’ eruption in 1980 shook the entire world.
  • Today the mountain has reopened for climbing, interpretive activities, snow sports, and exploration.
  • Located 45 miles west of Mount Adams and 60 miles NW of Mount Hood.


Ashes from the eruption of Mount Saint Helens on May 18, 1980 scattered as far away as Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. When a 5.1 magnitude earthquake triggered the collapse of the volcano’s face, more than 150 square miles of forest were destroyed within minutes.

While Saint Helens’ fame mainly centers on its volcanic activity, 30 years later the mountain has much more than its geologic fascination to attract visitors. The area now stands tribute to the remarkable regenerative ability of a Northwestern ecosystem. Saint Helens’ slopes are reopened for climbing, and four Visitor Centers around the mountain provide information and interpretive activities.

Location & Information

Mount Saint Helens lies in the western Cascades, about 45 miles west of Mount Adams and 60 miles northwest of Mount Hood. Reach the mountain via Interstate 5 North to Route 504 West past Silver Lake.

Call the Mount Saint Helens Monument Headquarters for more information, (360) 449-7800.


  • Climbing. Since the mountain has reopened for climbing, thousands of visitors make the trek to the crater rim each year. Permits are required year-round for climbing above 4,800 feet.
  • Exploration. Many viewpoints and trails have been created to allow visitors to explore Mount Saint Helens by vehicle or on foot; plane and helicopter tours are available.
  • Interpretive Presentations. In the summers, Forest Service personnel conduct various interpretive activities, from nature walks to amphitheater presentations.
  • Snow Sports. Snowmobiling and cross-country ski trails now are accessible around the mountain.
  • Visitor Centers. Four Visitor Centers are open around the mountain, with views of the lava dome, photos of the eruption, and more.