Mt. St. Helens West Side: State Highway 504

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

Johnston Ridge Observatory with volcano in backround.

One of the main roads into Mount St. Helens, Route 504 provides spectacular views of the landscape, including the crater, blast zone, and Toutle River Valley. At the end of the road is Johnston Ridge Observatory, a popular visitor center that is open daily mid-May through October offering ranger talks, interactive exhibits, and award-winning films. Seven miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory is the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater, where groups participate in educational programming and visitors may get information on winter weekends, 10am to 4pm.

As you drive up 504, consider stopping at one of the highway viewpoints: Elk Rock Viewpoint, Castle Lake Viewpoint, and Loowit Viewpoint.  These pull-outs offer benches, trails, gorgeous views, and are open most of the year.

Route 504 also provides visitors with access to a number of trails, such as the Hummocks Trail where you walk alongside pieces of the mountain, or begin your backpacking trip to spot elk and mountain goats in the majestic Mount Margaret Backcountry. A pleasant summer stop is at Coldwater Lake, with its accessible boardwalk stroll, picnic area, and boat launch.  Route 504 to Coldwater Lake is open through the winter. In summer, food service is available at Johnston Ridge Observatory while many options for food, lodging, and gas can be found along 504 west of Mount St. Helens.

Accessible Adventures Video

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 05/23/2018: Road snow-free and open to the end, to Johnston Ridge Observatory. The Observatory is temporarily closed due to an electrical problem, but visitors may still visit the patio and trails to get the magnificent view. Coldwater Science and Learning Center open only to registered school groups and for special events until Nov. 3. Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, at milepost 5, open 7 days a week, 9 am to 5 pm.
Operational Hours: Coldwater Science and Learning Center is open in the winter season on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am to 4 pm except Dec. 24 & 25.
Closest Towns: Toutle, WA - Castle Rock, WA
Restroom: Coldwater Lake Picnic Area, Johnston Ridge Observatory, Science and Learning Center at Coldwater
Information Center: Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters and Visitor Centers

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities


Bicycling

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Fishing

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Hiking

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Nature Viewing

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Outdoor Learning

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Picnicking

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Water Activities

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