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.
Toutle, WA 98649
Eco Park Resort, just 24 miles up SR-504 offers Guided Horse Back Tours in the beautiful back country.
Take a guided tour on horseback, lead by park owner Mark Smith, a survivor of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.
They have over 12 miles of trails to ride on. Some of the trails cross over parts of the old highway.
Tour on the mud-flow itself, and see the life returning to the area first hand.
Toutle, WA 98649
Located at the end of State Highway 504 (52 miles east of Castle Rock), in the heart of the blast zone, the observatory hosts interpretive displays that tell the biological, geological, and human story of Mount St. Helens. Visitors to Johnston Ridge Observatory can enjoy multiple award-winning films, listen to ranger talks, observe the landscape, purchase souvenirs, set off on a hike, or get a light lunch from the food cart.
Check out the annual summer Music on the Mountain series held throughout summer at the Johnston Ridge Observatory outdoor amphitheater (in partnership Mount St. Helens Institute).
Hours Open: Open 7 days a week, 10 am to 6 pm - until October 29th.
Johnston Ridge Observatory will Re-Open May 2018.