Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument Warnings and Dangers

  • Pet Exercise Areas are Marked by Signs where Exist
    Pet Exercise Areas are Marked by Signs...
    by glabah
  • Boundary Trail east of Johnson Ridge
    Boundary Trail east of Johnson Ridge
    by glabah
  • Sign warns of Fee Area of National Monument
    Sign warns of Fee Area of National...
    by glabah

Most Recent Warnings and Dangers in Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument

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    National Monument Day Pass is Required

    by glabah Updated Jul 1, 2014

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    Visiting the Mt. St. Helens National Monument area requires an assortment of passes, depending on the area that you wish to visit. Coldwater Lake Recreation Area as well as Johnson Ridge requires the purchase of a $8 per person (under 16 free) day pass for the national monument. (It should be noted, however, that Coldwater Ridge Center itself is free of charge on most days). As the funding for the operations of these facilities was eliminated from the federal budget in 2007, this fee was established to heavily finance the operations of these facilities and other operations inside the Mt St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

    However, it gets more complicated, as some of the areas outside these areas are on federal forest service land, and those require the Northwest Forest Service pass or day use permit. Overnight camping is not allowed in a number of locations, but in those locations where it is allowed the overnight camping requires an overnight camping permit.

    A Northwest Forest Pass annual pass (not a day pass) will allow one person to visit the National Volcanic Monument and take the place of the $8 pass, but anyone else requires the payment of the day pass.

    This pass is not accepted for Washington State lands, and the Mt. St. Helens Interpretive Center at Silver Lake is actually operated by the State of Washington. Thus, the need to pay a separate fee for that museum.

    Payment results in a receipt and a wrist band that shows correct payment and is used to identify those that paid.

    A look at the map of the Mount Saint Helens National Monument will show what areas have what type of fee applied.

    It is unfortunate that the payment scheme has become so complicated, but this has been the direct result of the federal funding policies that work somewhat acceptably well for certain types of facilities, but isn't necessarily applicable to a vast tract of land encompassing a mixture of possible uses.

    Receipt for Payment of Mt. St. Helens $8 Day Use Sign warns of Fee Area of National Monument
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    • National/State Park

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    Watch Out! Long Way Down and Won't Survive a Fall

    by glabah Written Jun 30, 2014

    There are a number of hazardous trails in the northwest, but those at Mt. St. Helens have a particular set of hazards as once you start to fall, there isn't anything to try to grab on to. Anything of substance was blown away: trees, bushes, and even rocks. The gravel ash surface will do nothing to stop you even if you dig in. Once you reach the end of the steep slope, there is frequently a 200 or more foot rock cliff before anything worth grabbing on to is available.

    Thus, don't fall, and if you see someone that is doing something irrational then it is best to stay away from them so that when they go over the edge they don't take you with them.

    Boundary Trail east of Johnson Ridge
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    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Pets are Only Legal in Some Areas

    by glabah Written Jun 29, 2014

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    There have been many problems with pets in various places, and in the Mount Saint Helens National Monument there are an assortment of reasons why they are not allowed in most areas of the monument. As seen in the signs, there are very well marked areas for pet exercise.

    However, if you go out on many of the trails, you will not be allowed to take your dog with you.

    Please keep in mind there is no shade at most parking areas in the national monument. All the trees blew down in the 1980 eruption. Therefore, your car will be very hot during most days - and quite uncomfortable if not downright dangerous or deadly for your pet.

    Therefore, please consider the welfare of your pet before even bringing them to the monument, as it really isn't the best place to have them around anyway.

    Pet Exercise Areas are Marked by Signs where Exist Signs Instruct Reasons Why Pets are Not Allowed
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    Trail closures

    by goingsolo Written May 31, 2006

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    Many of the trails, especially those closest to the mountain, were closed as of May, 2006, due to volcanic activity. Climbing to the summit, or what's left of it, is not permitted at this time. I visited on May 28, 2006 and, two days later, heard about reports of an earthquake.

    It may be tempting to ignore these warnings and trek onward in search of a better view or great photo. But, keep in mind that many people disregarded the warnings in 1980 to their peril. It is estimated that many people entered the blast xone area surreptitiously and were around the base of the mountain at the time of eruption. Those who were in the blast zone did not survive. The warnings are there for a reason. Heed them.

    Mount Saint Helens Volcanic National Monument
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    • National/State Park

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    LOOWIT TRAIL WASHOUTS

    by mtncorg Written Jul 3, 2005

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    The Forest Service tells you the Loowit trail is closed across the North Side - the Blast Zone - because of potential volcanic activity. They don’t tell you of the other areas where the trail is washed away. Going north from the South Fork of the Toutle combines a wet crossing with plenty of ash and possibly washed away trail. Crossing the Swift Creek lahar on the southeast side can be very interesting considering seasonal erosion on the steep soft ash slopes of the trail. Mapreading skills and a good sense of where you are and where you are going are essential. There is also the normal creek crossing on the map. Here, just south of the Loowit’s junction with the Sheep Canyon Trail, there is about 100 meters of trail that are gone. You are not getting across at this point. The soft ash walls will simply give way and you will tumble down. There was a ‘flagged’ detour, experience is needed to recognize the flag, however. The extra elevation gain and distance is considerable. To put a trail that can last in this environment up here is quite a task. On the other hand, if you put the trail on the map and don’t maintain it, don’t warn people of what hazards lie ahead - simply telling them that the damn trail is closed from here to here! - you should just take the trail off the map for some could come to harm on such ‘trails’.

    Trail missing!
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    • Camping
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    TRAIL CONDITIONS

    by mtncorg Updated Jul 2, 2005

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    Early in the season, snows can lie deep along trails making the way treacherous without the use of special tools. Later in the season, winds blow the dry sands into your face and clothes. Be very careful with digital cameras - any cameras!

    Climbing is cancelled for the moment because of volcanic activity. The Loowit Trail, a very popular trail which encircles the mountain at around the timberline level, is also closed from the Castle Ridge Trail junction to the Plains of Abraham, or basically, for the entire northern section of the mountain. The Loowit Trail is still open for a little over half of it on the south sides. *

    Mtn Dachsund helps hiker navigate the snows
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    • National/State Park
    • Desert

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    Have a good vehicle

    by phildeni Written Jun 12, 2003

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    There are no services for about 70 miles each way. In the summer it can get very hot, and in the winter there is snow on the roads.

    The valley below
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    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

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Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument Warnings and Dangers

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