Science and Learning Center at Coldwater

Area Status: Closed
This area is Closed

This is the view of Mount St. Helens from the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater

The Science and Learning Center is a great resource for schools, science and education  groups interested in field trips and research at Mount St. Helens. The center is also available as a rental facility for special events like family reunions and conferences.

This beautiful facility is located at milepost 43 on State Highway 504, approximately 10 miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Visitor Information Station: In the winter, the center is open to the public on weekends. At that time, it is the closest access to Mount St. Helens from the west.  Stop in to get information about exploring the monument, learn about education programs offered, or shop at the bookstore.  A pet rest area is located within the Coldwater Lake area.

There are two trails near the building perfect for exploration. Adjacent to the Science and Learning Center is the accessible Winds of Change Trail, a 1/4 mile paved path leading through a part of the Blast Zone.

The Elk Bench Trail starts near the building and connects with the Lakes Trail, providing stunning views of Coldwater Lake and frequent elk sightings along the way.  Once connected with the Lakes Trail head north along the shore of Coldwater Lake and begin your exploration into Mt. Margaret Backcountry.

Rentals:  The Science and Learning Center has conference rooms available for rental, as well as some rustic or primitive overnight accommodations. We also host special events, including conferences, family reunions and weddings. Contact the Science and Learning Center for more information about rentals.

Educational Programs: The Science and Learning Center hosts schools and provides in-depth and extended education programs to groups visiting the volcano. We offer overnight stays in the Science and Learning Center for education programs as well as hands-on education in the Volcanic Monument. Programs vary from 2 hours to multiple days.

For more information on programs or volunteering, visit the Mount St. Helens Institute's website or contact 360-449-7883.

For information about accessible recreation opportunities in Pacific Northwest National Forests, visit

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 04/19/2019: Open only to education groups and for special events. Will reopen to the general public in November, 2019. Displays, sales items and a volcano view on a clear day. Elevation 3,100 ft.
Operational Hours: Open for special events and education programs only until November, 2019. In November, open to the public Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm, except Dec. 24 & 25. For more information go to:
Reservations: 360-274-2114
Usage: Light
Closest Towns: Toutle , WA
Water: Yes
Restroom: Yes
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


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From Castle Rock, WA take State Route 504 east for 42 miles to the Science and Learning Center, just 10 miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory.

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  Elevation : 
3080 - 3100


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