Science and Learning Center at Coldwater

Area Status: Open
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. Find information about renting the Science and Learning Center

Educational Programs: The Science and Learning Center hosts schools and provides in-depth and extended education programs to groups visiting the volcano. Our partner Mount St. Helens Institute offers 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: 05/31/2022: Coldwater Learning Center is closed to the public. For more inforation about rentals and educational programs at the site please contact Mount St. Helens Institute (360) 449-7883.
Operational Hours: The center is open to the public Saturday and Sunday throughout the winter, 10 am to 4 pm. 
Reservations: (360) 274-2114
Usage: Light-Medium
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:
  • Mount St. Helens Institute (360) 449-7883
  • Coldwater Science and Learning Center (360) 274-2131
  • Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Administrative Headquarters (360) 449-7800

General Information


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.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Visitor Programs

Interpretive Areas

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
3080' - 3100'