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Climbing information - Permits
Everyone must have a climbing permit to be above 4,800 feet elevation on Mount St. Helens.
The permit system helps to protect the volcano’s physical and biological features and processes, reduces crowding, and provides climbers with information on climbing conditions, Leave No Trace principles, and safety. The permit system has been in effect since 1987.
1. Mount St. Helens climbing permits are administered by Mount St. Helens Institute (MSHI) through an online vendor.
The MSHI online vendor is a secure website that accepts all major credit and debit cards. Climbers will be emailed a permit purchase confirmation receipt at the time of purchase.
2. The total permit fee of $22 includes a service charge which goes towards MSHI’s Mountain Stewards Volunteer Program to help maintain and protect the climbing routes. Climbing permits are not refundable. If climbing is suspended by the Forest Service, permit sales will also be suspended.
3. From April 1 to October 31 climbing permits are available online by advance purchase only.
Do not wait until the day of your climb to purchase your permit.
Unsold permits may be purchased online until 24-hours before the date of the climb.
4. Once you complete your permit purchase through the online vendor, all sales are final.
Refunds are not possible. You cannot change climbing dates once your purchase is complete. Please plan accordingly before completing your purchase.
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
The historic Columbia Theatre opened as a vaudeville venue and movie house in 1925, declined during the mid-20th century and escaped what would have been a tragic ending in 1980 when excavation and demolition equipment heading toward the theater was diverted to help with the cleanup following the eruption of Mount St. Helens. Subsequently, a group of visionaries got together and saved the building. Today, the vibrant 1,000-seat theatre hosts nearly a dozen shows each year, ranging from musicals to comedy to children’s theatre.
Triangle Center - Triangle Center is located at the corner of Ocean Beach Hwy. & 15th Ave., Longview. It is a Community Center which opened in 1964 and was last renovated in 2005. It is an Open shopping mall with 1,635 parking spaces. It covers an area of 253,064 sqft.
The Triangle Center offers numerous stores and restaurants, including:
Ross, Petco, Bed Bath & Beyond, Michael’s, Applebee’s, Winco, Starbucks, Big 5 Sports, Ace Hardware, Office Depot, US Cellular, Ultra, Chase Bank, Rite - Aid,