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Mount Saint Helens

The 102 mile side trip follows the course of the Toutle River, the route ascends more steeply, winding about mountain faces high above the river, revealing panoramas of mountain and valley wilderness.

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Most recently an active volcano Mount Saint Helens, the current elevation of the peak is 8,634 feet. On May 18, 1980, the mountain violently erupted, devastating the surrounding landscape, killing 61 people, and causing millions of dollars worth of damage. The visitor center interprets the history of the area and this dramatic event. The Native American name was Low-We-Not-Thiat or Low-We-Lat-Klah, meaning Throwing Up Smoke or The Smoking Mountain. The...

Learn more about Mount St Helens Visitor Center

Mile: 5

A popular lake resort. The route winds southward through fertile valleys between cut-over lands. As last as the 1940s, occasional skidroads and many stumps and snags remained from the years, around the turn of the century, when the area was logged. The side trip ends at Hague Homestead park, and passes through heavily developed residential areas, which are a dramatic contrast to character that existed in the 1940s.

Learn more about Silver Lake (Lewis County)

Mile: 6

An unincorporated logging community, it was named after the Toutle River. The Toutle River rises in two branches in western Skamania County and flows west through northern Cowlitz County to the Cowlitz River north of Castle Rock. The name is from a local Native American tribal designation, Hullooetell. Wilkes simplified that name to Toutle on his 1841 charts and his title has remained. The Toutle River received wide spread publicity...

Learn more about Toutle

Mile: 10

The observatory and its viewing deck provide the views of the mountain. The observatory was named after David Johnston, a volcanologist camped at the site who died in the 1980 eruption after radioing in “Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it!” Spirit Lake visible from the observatory, was a popular tourist destination, with several camps and a number of lodges, including Spirit Lake Lodge and Mt. St. Helens Lodge, for many years...

Learn more about Johnston Ridge Observatory
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Mile: 52