Forest Learning Center
Admission is always FREE!
Plan a 60-90 minute visit to the Forest Learning Center at Mount St. Helens.
The Forest Learning Center showcases remarkable volcano and forestry exhibits (updated in 2020!), a new playground, picnic tables, a gift shop, wildlife viewing and rest area facilities. It is located inside the blast zone on the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, 19 miles before Johnston Ridge Observatory.
Experience the story of Mount St. Helens and the recovery of forests, fish and wildlife following the eruption. Walk through the forest, hearing the sounds of the birds and animals on the mountain prior to May 18, 1980. Enter the “eruption chamber” to view an astounding video of what the forest looked like immediately after the eruption. Hear a first-hand report from a local newscaster who barely escaped. Breathtaking photographs and life-size models of loggers working in the blast zone bring the experience to life. The Forest Learning Center tells the story from nature’s perspective and gives a hands-on approach to learning in the Discovery Room where families can touch lava rocks, learn about the animals of the Pacific Northwest, and discover how trees grow.
Groups larger than 25 people are kindly asked to make reservations at least two weeks in advance by calling the Exhibit Reservation Message Number below. School field trip information is available on the website link.
The Forest Learning Center is a partnership of Weyerhaeuser, Washington State Department of Transportation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Location: 33.5 miles from I-5, approximately a 40 minute drive east of Castle Rock, Washington.
From Interstate 5 in Western Washington, take Exit 49 and continue east on Highway 504 to Milepost 33. The Forest Learning Center is located at 17000 Spirit Lake Highway, Toutle, WA. Please watch for wildlife on roadways.
Exhibits: Open 7 days a week, 10 am to 4 pm – June – September
Gift Shop: Open 7 days a week 10 am to 5 pm – June – October
Exhibit Reservation Message Number 360.414.3439
(Please leave a voicemail for groups larger than 25 people;
calls will be returned within 1-2 business days during regular operating season)