Spirit Lake Memorial Highway to Mount St Helens

Castle Rock, Washington

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This 52-mile drive (each way) to Mount St. Helens is like a trip to the moon, thanks to the 1980 eruption of the volcano. The effects of its destruction increase in scale as the road ascends alongside the Toutle River Valley. Eruption time for Mount St. Helens was 8:32 on the morning of Sunday, May 18, 1980. It blew two-thirds of a cubic mile off the top of the mountain. Two hundred thirty-four square miles of forest were flattened almost instantly. Volcanic ash fell for days, covering much of eastern Washington and many parts of the Inland Northwest. The Toutle River became a sweeping mudflow. It buried buildings, roads, and logging machinery 300 feet below. Six hours after the eruption, the temperature of the river water at Castle Rock, where the drive begins, was 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Special attractions: Visitor centers and chats with locals who frequent them, scenic overlooks of startling terrain, wildlife viewing. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more.
Scenic Driving Washington

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Scenic Driving Washington

by Steve Giordano (Falcon Guides)

This 52-mile drive (each way) to Mount St. Helens is like a trip to the moon, thanks to the 1980 eruption of the volcano. The effects of its destruction increase in scale as the road ascends alongside the Toutle River Valley. Eruption time for Mount St. Helens was 8:32 on the morning of Sunday, May 18, 1980. It blew two-thirds of a cubic mile off the top of the mountain. Two hundred thirty-four square miles of forest were flattened almost instantly. Volcanic ash fell for days, covering much of eastern Washington and many parts of the Inland Northwest. The Toutle River became a sweeping mudflow. It buried buildings, roads, and logging machinery 300 feet below. Six hours after the eruption, the temperature of the river water at Castle Rock, where the drive begins, was 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Special attractions: Visitor centers and chats with locals who frequent them, scenic overlooks of startling terrain, wildlife viewing. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more.

©  Steve Giordano/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Scenic Drives
Nearby City: Castle Rock
Distance: 52
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Driving Directions: Directions to Spirit Lake Memorial Highway to Mount St. Helens

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Apr 2018