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Old 07-12-2009, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Ocala,Florida
86 posts, read 282,439 times
Reputation: 52

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On my next trip out west i will be flying into Seattle and driving down to PDX for a few days. On my way, I am contemplating stopping off at Mt St. Helens to briefly take a look. I was curious as to how far of the beaten path it is to the park. I realize that there seem to be a few different visitor centers along the way and I am not looking to get right up close to it, but would like some photo ops and whatnot. Can you guys tell me how far off I-5 the drive is over to the Mt time-wise? I know the drive from Seattle to PDx takes about 3 hours or so. I did not know how far out of the way this little detour would take me if I decide to take it. Thanks a ton. You guys make this forum very useful and and educational.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:40 AM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
6,737 posts, read 14,448,276 times
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The closest (and best) would be the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center, which, according to the webpage, is 43 miles off I-5.

Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center

Ooops, nevermind - it says it's closed. When did that happen?

Apparently Johnson Ridge is open - it's 50+ miles.

http://www.gonorthwest.com/Washingto...nstonridge.htm
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Ocala,Florida
86 posts, read 282,439 times
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Well I do know that some parts were closed just because there were signs of seismic activity lately. Maybe that , or due to the economy, one of the things they close to save money are parks. if so, it's a sad day. I will call and find out i suppose and see what the 411 is. Interesting.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:45 AM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
6,737 posts, read 14,448,276 times
Reputation: 8661
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylegs5150 View Post
Well I do know that some parts were closed just because there were signs of seismic activity lately. Maybe that , or due to the economy, one of the things they close to save money are parks. if so, it's a sad day. I will call and find out i suppose and see what the 411 is. Interesting.
No, it wasn't closed from seismic activity, just budget cuts. (I had to look it up.)

As I added, though, Johnson Ridge is open, and it's right THERE - you stare pretty much straight into the heart of Mt. St. Helens.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Ocala,Florida
86 posts, read 282,439 times
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Yeah it looks pretty awesome. Do you know how far timewise though it is to get there. I mean 50 miles could take 2 hours if you can only drive 25 mph up windy,curvy roads. I am hoping I have time to do that drive!
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:05 AM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
6,737 posts, read 14,448,276 times
Reputation: 8661
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylegs5150 View Post
Yeah it looks pretty awesome. Do you know how far timewise though it is to get there. I mean 50 miles could take 2 hours if you can only drive 25 mph up windy,curvy roads. I am hoping I have time to do that drive!
It's not that curvy (although it does climb and in places there are switchbacks) - the biggest hazard, time-wise, is going to be slow-moving RVs. I'd say an hgour plus out, an hour plus back and maybe an hour at the visitor center, so 3 hours.

There is also, somewhere on the road back, on the north side, a place that has incredible pies from local berries. Can't remember the name, but I want to say it's a red building with a white porch.

Since I lived in the Portland metro area and then the Vancouver area, I tended to go up the south side, not the north, but it's a MUCH longer drive.
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:22 PM
 
845 posts, read 2,417,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylegs5150 View Post
Yeah it looks pretty awesome. Do you know how far timewise though it is to get there. I mean 50 miles could take 2 hours if you can only drive 25 mph up windy,curvy roads. I am hoping I have time to do that drive!
It takes awhile getting there, about and hour and a half from the highway. Coming down off the mountain it took me less than 45 minutes, just cruised down the mountain. I only spent about a half hour at the visitor center and took pictures, but I was also pressed for time. If you have the time I am sure there are some places along the way where you can hike and get good views.
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Ocala,Florida
86 posts, read 282,439 times
Reputation: 52
Yeah wish I had more time to devote there. I will be driving down from Seattle on my way to PDX with a stop also in the AM at a glass museum in Tacoma so depending on time may not even be able to do this drive but would REALLY like to. It looks amazing. I will keep it in mind everyone. I really appreciate the tips!
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:27 PM
 
162 posts, read 449,219 times
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If you want a great view of Mt St helens minus the crowds, try ape canyon. It is only 90 minutes from Portland and brings you right next to the mountain. It is absolutely unreal.
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