Science and Learning Center at Coldwater

Area Status: Temporarily Closed
This area is Closed

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

This facility is located at milepost 43 on State Highway 504, approximately 10 miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory. During winter, 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 a mile down the road at Coldwater Lake near the Lakes Trail.

There are two trails near the building perfect for exploration. The accessible Winds of Change Trail is 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 #211, 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 Mount Margaret Backcountry.

Rentals:  The Science and Learning Center has conference rooms, simple overnight group accomodations, and a kitchen available for day or overnight rentals for small conferences, classes and events. For information about renting the Science and Learning Center, visit

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.


At a Glance

Current Conditions: In an effort to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, Coldwater Science and Learning Center will remain closed until further notice. The center normally operates from Nov. to April, open weekends only. Please check the Gifford Pinchot National Forest website for updates.
Operational Hours: The Center is currently closed in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID 19. A reopening date is yet to be announced. Normally, the center is open on weekends throughout the winter, 10 am to 4 pm.
Reservations: (360) 274-2114
Fees Entrance to the center is free.
Usage: Light
Closest Towns: Castle Rock, WA, Toutle , WA    Be aware the last gas stations on Highway 504 are in Toutle, WA, and on Highway 505, are in Toledo, WA. No gas available at Johnston Ridge Observatory or Coldwater Science and Learning Center.
Water: Yes
Restroom: Yes
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


 See video


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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  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
3080' - 3100'