Mount St. Helens West: State Highway 504

Area Status: Open
South end from shore

One of the main roads into Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, State Route 504 provides spectacular views of the landscape, including the crater, blast zone, and Toutle River Valley.

Alert: Due to a significant landslide in May of 2023 State Route 504 is currently closed past the Coldwater Science and Learning Center at milepost 45.2. The Johnston Ridge Observatory, a popular visitor center at the end of State Route 504, is closed for 2023. 

What's Open along State Route 504?

Seven miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory is the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater which is open to visitors from 10 am to 4 pm, daily. 

As you drive up State Route 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, access to the Lakes Trail, and boat launch. South Coldwater Trailhead, just beyond the Hummocks Trailhead provides hiking access to the South Coldwater Trail.

Visitor Information: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters, (360) 449-7800

Visitor Centers Currently Open:

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 11/21/2023: Both lanes of State Route 504 has closed due to a significant landslide in the vicinity of Coldwater Lake near milepost 51. There is no estimated time of reopening for the road or for Johnston Ridge Observatory. The road is currently closed at Mile Post 43 at the Coldwater Science and Learning Center. This facility will be open on weekends from 10am to 4pm as a Visitor Center this winter. The gates at the parking lot will be locked at 4 daily to accommodate overnight field trips. Updates will be made as soon as they are available. Contact Mt. St. Helens Ranger District for more information. 360-449-7800.
Operational Hours: Access on Highway 504 inside the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (east of Elk Rock Viewpoint) is limited to daylight hours. 
Fees: Admission to Johnston Ridge Observatory is $8 per adult, 16 and older. America the Beautiful Passes are accepted.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions: Pets are not allowed at Johnston Ridge Observatory and plaza. There is no shade to park in, so vehicles get incredibly hot! Please leave your pet at home if you plan to enter the Visitor Center. 
Closest Towns: Toutle, WA, Castle Rock, WA
Restroom: Coldwater Lake & Johnston Ridge
Information Center:

General Information


Accessible Adventures Video

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

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Lake and Pond Fishing

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Viewing Wildlife

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Viewing Plants

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Viewing Scenery

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Visitor Programs

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Interpretive Areas

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Visitor Centers

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Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

Group Picnicking

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Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized:

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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