The Blue Heron Inn is just wonderful. We stayed here when we visited Mount Saint Helens and had a great experience. The place is exceptionally clean, all the rooms are spacious and comfortable, and many have balconies overlooking a beautiful lake and forest. You can see Mount Saint Helens ascending over the tree tops as well. The breakfasts are delicious with a wide array of cooked selections, and Eric, the host, is very outgoing, warm and helpful. I highly recommend staying here if you go to see Mount Saint Helens. You will have many happy memories.
Large beds, warm, fluffy comforters, a large communal room, kitchen with corkscrew and wine glasses, lovely patios overlooking nature, easy access to the interstate highway.
There's not much to choose from in Packwood, Washington, (in the area between Mt. Ranier and Mt. Saint Helen), but I think I may have messed up on this motel. Dang it. The one thing I can say is the lady that checked me in, (the bar tender of the lounge, and for all I know, the owner), was very nice.
I was given a key to one of the 3 rooms and opened the door to a pretty nice moldy smell. Bummer. It was not too bad, so I did get used to it after a while. Other than that, the room was clean, and the bed was actually very comfy. It could have been worse, but I wonder if I should've stopped at Mountain View Lodge (north of Peters). It looked better. I'll try it next time.
There are some grand backcountry camping sites available around St Helens - the lakes of the Mt Margaret Backcountry Area come to mind, though you’ll have to share the area with the black bears that come for the incredible huckleberry harvests of late August - abundantly evidenced by that steaming berry-filled scat you just walked over! On the roads reaching up from the south, lots of people can be found camping along road #8100. A little more effort can take you up to some grand and lonely camping spots, plus you won’t be coated with the dust coming off the road. This spot is only two miles up the Toutle Trail from the Blue Lake trailhead. You don’t have to go far.
How about croissants and coffee with that sight out your tent door??
At this point in our vacation, we were on a fairly tight budget. However, if you like to stay in more upscale surroundings and don't mind paying for it, the Blue Heron Inn is your place and the location is good too! Very close to the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center and Silver Lake, this country-style inn offers comfortable accommodations including a full country breakfast which is served daily at 9:00am on a massive oak table. Each room is individually decorated and be sure to request a room with a veranda and views Mount St. Helens or Silver Lake. For those with really fat wallets, request a Jacuzzi Suite! For the pleasure of their guests, the Blue Heron also offers a nice 2-story lobby with lots of great windows and small library.
No smoking or pets are allowed. Check-in and check-out times are not optimum: check-in is 3pm (summer) and 4pm winter) with checkout at 11am. Current website info. lists a single or double room at $159; jacuzzi suite at $205 double occupancy. Extra adult is $30pp; children up to 12 sharing room with adults are $20pp. All rates include the full country breakfast. I would definitely check the website for seasonal changes in price and online
UPDATE: A quick check of rates in July, 2013, revealed room rates have increased slightly. Singles/Doubles are $169. Jacuzzi suites are $235. Rates still include a full breakfast.
No smoking allowed inside the Inn.
Of course you are paying for nicer than most accommodations, but also a matchless view of Mount St. Helens and its location so close to the entrance to the park. Other than cabins and campgrounds inside the park, this is probably the closest and nicest place to sleep in the area!
Our visit to Mount St. Helens was planned for the day after we returned from an Alaska cruise. We drove down to the town of Longview the day before we planned to go into the park. We wanted to be located as close as possible for our drive into the park, but also get a reasonable rate on a room as we were on a pretty tight budget. We pre-booked the Ramada Limited Longview/Kelso online, and found it to be similar to a Holiday Inn Express. We received a 10% discounted rate for booking online, so we paid $81 including taxes for the 4 of us and that price also included a self-serve, continental breakfast. However, I spoke to another guest checking in about the same time as we did, who got the same type of room as we did for about $60 because she had gotten a coupon out of one of the many ad magazines available at roadside rest stops!!
Note: when trying to find updated prices for this hotel, it was no longer listed (2013). However, at least 2 other very modest hotel/motel listings in the area did, and prices for those in Feb., 2013 were in the $50 -$60 range + taxes.
This small, cookie-cutter hotel served our needs very well. The room was pretty clean, although somewhat musty smelling, and the hot shower and fluffy towels were great. The room was adequately furnished with 2 double beds, color TV, small table & chairs. The hotel also had an indoor pool! We didn't need much more since we were only spending one night at the hotel. The continental breakfast was complimentary and was served just off the lobby in a small, but bright dining area where a TV was also located showing the morning news. The only downside to the hotel was that it had no nearby restaurant and we were forced to drive into town to get dinner on the night we arrived. This wouldn't have been a problem normally, however, there were only a few restaurants in town and we all decided on pizza but had hoped for a better meal.
Climbers Bivouac is at the end of the gravel road bringing you up from Forest Road 83 and the beginning of the Monitor Ridge climbing route. Mt St Helens rises high above you. The camp is set in an old clear cut - good for looking at Mt St Helens, but little else. It is dry and dusty. There are outhouses here. I can think of much better places to spend the night.
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