Cowlitz County Gateway to Mount St. Helens
Cowlitz County is home to approximately 101,996 residents, roughly 56 percent of whom live in the incorporated cities of Castle Rock, Kelso, Longview, Kalama, and Woodland. The remaining 44 percent live in rural, unincorporated communities such as Ryderwood, Toutle, Yale, Silver Lake, Lexington, Ariel and Cougar.
The county covers 1,144 square miles within the southwestern region of Washington. Once known as the “Timber Capital of the World,” Cowlitz County is home to Douglas fir, hemlock and western cedar trees that cover much of its rugged terrain.
Adjacent transportation corridors – including Interstate 5, the Columbia River and a major rail line – have allowed area businesses to access markets throughout the world. Following the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, tourism expanded rapidly and is now a major industry in Cowlitz County.
Mt St Helens Visitor Center is a world-class facility located on the western shore of Silver Lake. With its high ceilings and massive windows, the outdoors becomes a part of the architecture. Your senses will come alive as you enjoy the interactive exhibits, a step-in model of the volcano and theater programs that are offered twice an hour. Outside, a mile-long trail takes you into marshy plains surrounding Silver Lake where you can see waterfowl and a picture-perfect view of the mountain.
Make sure to take in one of the comprehensive presentations on the historical and cultural significance of the area. View exhibits showing the chronology of events leading up to the eruption and see the working seismograph. On your trip to Mount St. Helens, Silver Lake Visitor Center is the closest to I-5.
The Mount St. Helens Visitor Center opened its doors to the public a few years after the monumental eruption of Mount St. Helens. Functioning as a gateway to the mountain, over 30 miles away, our goal is to educate visitors on the historical significance of the landscape before and during the eruption. We also focus on the resulting impact on nearby ecosystems. Our vantage point offers a view of the Western slope of the mountain, visible from both our center and walking trail.
This unique building features expansive windows providing a glimpse of towering second-growth forest all around. A high archway and elaborately carved wooden columns contribute to the feeling of magnificence. Inside, visitors can enjoy a variety of interpretive displays that include comprehensive information on local history, geology, and re-growth and recovery of the land in the years immediately after the eruption.
Large, step-in model of the volcano
functioning seismograph and live feed of current Mount St. Helens volcano seismicity
Chronological timeline of events leading up to the volcanic blast on May 18, 1980
Theater program offered twice an hour; at :05 and :35 after.
Outdoors, visitors can explore Silver Lake along the 0.6 mile-long trail, including boardwalks over the wetland where a variety of aquatic plants and migratory waterfowl can be viewed at different times of the year.
Visitor Center Hours:
March 1 - May 15, open daily 9:00 - 4:00
May 16 - September 15, open daily 9:00 - 5:00
September 16 - October 31, open daily 9:00 - 4:00
November 1 - February 28, open Thursday through Monday 9:00 - 4:00
Castle Rock, WA 98611
Castle Rock Lavender is a small family-run farm nestled on the hillside in Castle Rock Washington. We have over 2000 lavender plants with more than 11 varieties. We open our farm to the public for U-pick in mid-June and continue through mid August. Visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside while immersed in the splendid aroma of our lavender fields.
Lewis & Clark Bowmen
Archery Lessons - Youth and Adult, Individual/Group
Archery Shoots - Competitions
Archery Range Situated in the Woods - 3-D Range
(Range accessible to members only or during shoots)
Hunting Preparation Shoots - Fall/Winter Archery
Inexpensive Club Memberships