This beautiful photo of Mt St Helens was
taken by Jeran Keogh Photography and is used by permission.
April 16 | 2021
Washington State Parks
Free Park Days in 2021
State Parks, in coordination with WDFW, will once again offer a free day on Sunday, June 13, as part of WDFW’s Free Fishing Weekend. This day, combined with the June 12 free day for National Get Outdoors Day, will give visitors an entire weekend to explore state parks for free.

The 2021 State Parks free days are:

• Thursday, April 22 — Earth Day
• Saturday, June 5 — National Trails Day
• Saturday, June 12 — National Get Outdoors Day
• Sunday, June 13 — Free Fishing Day
• Wednesday, Aug. 25 — National Park Service Birthday
• Saturday, Sept. 25 — National Public Lands Day
• Thursday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
• Friday, Nov. 26 — Autumn free day
Since you can't visit the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center in person right now (due to COVID restrictions), we thought we'd show it to you virtually. Check out our YouTube channel for a guided tour, courtesy of Interpretive Specialist Alysa Adams and Eager Beaver, who came out of retirement just for this presentation!

Exciting news: Brand new exhibits are coming in 2021!
Mt St Helens - Sights along the way
Hoffstadt Creek Bridge
The largest and highest bridge along Washington State’s Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, Hoffstadt Creek is a deck truss bridge with a main span of 600 feet (183 mtrs). Opened in 1991, the new highway was built to replace the original highway that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980. By taking an elevation high above the North Fork of the Toutle River, the new route 504 is safer from potential debris run off and flood damage. The continuous truss was built by erecting the outside spans of 332 feet (101 mtrs) on falsework and then cantilevering the central span of 600 feet (183 mtrs) from each side. The approaches are steel plate girders with spans that vary from 148 feet (45 mtrs) to 232 feet (71 mtrs). The truss reaches a depth of 56 feet (17 mtrs) above the piers. The bridge cost 12.6 million dollars and uses 2,505 tons of steel. Shelby Bridge Co. was the contractor, Universal Structural was the fabricator and Western Pacific erected it. The bridge won the 1996 Merit Bridge Award for a Long Span bridge from the American Institute of Steel Construction Inc.

Hoffstadt Creek is not the only tall bridge on route 504. Nearby Cow Creek bridge is also high at 260 feet (79 mtrs).

Photo by Adrian
USGS Volcanoes
Mt St Helens Institute
April 15, 2021 update
Sunrise: 6:22 am
Sunset: 7:57 pm
The road to Climber's Bivouac is CLOSED. Climbers should depart from Marble Mountain Sno-Park (winter route), which requires a Washington Sno-Park Pass after December 1.
Permits are required year-round. From April 1 - October 31, permits must be purchased online in advance through Visitor our permits page for more information. From November 1 - March 31 permits are free, unlimited, and self-issue at the trailhead.
There is dispersed camping and pit toilets available at the trailheads, but no running water, and bathroom services may be limited so please bring your own toilet paper, soap, water, or hand sanitizer. Please plan accordingly. 
Please climb with your quarantine household, and maintain at least 6 feet of space between yourself and other hikers. Please review our Mount St. Helens and COVID-19 page to learn about open trailheads and sites, expected services, and how to recreate responsibly. Please bring a mask to put on when you pass others on the trail.
Road 83 to Marble Mountain is clear and snow-free. A Washington State Sno-Park Pass, purchased in advance, is required to park at Marble Mountain between December 1 - March 31, or as posted. Climbers are required to utilize blue bags to pack out all human or pet waste, including toilet paper.

Woods to tree line snow is 3' deep at Marble Mountain, and hard-packed through the forest. Above tree line, snow is firm and packed in the morning, but becoming slushy in afternoon spring sunshine. Snow still fills many of the valleys, concealing much of the topography, but sunshine and warm weather could melt out some rocks in the coming days. Crampons or skis currently recommended.

A large cornice has formed along the summit rim - PLEASE STAY BACK 15-20 feet to avoid cornice collapse. DO NOT assume that an area is safe just because you see footprints in the snow. There is no safe view into the crater. The true summit is 1/4 mi west of where the route tops out.

Route finding: Do not just follow the "fall-line" on your descent ("fall line" is if you were to roll a ball down the hill, it would travel with gravity and that would take you off-route). Route finding may be challenging, especially in dense cloud or fog; be sure to know the route and carry navigation equipment.

Glissading: many glissade paths crisscross the mountain and can easily take descending climbers far away from the route. Getting lost is easy. Be sure that you follow the glissade trails that take you back to your car. Glissading is also the number one source of serious injuries. Remove crampons, securely stow any loose gear, and glissade only when the snow is soft. Beware of glissade trails that end in rocks, ice, or cliffs.

Forecast: Warm and sunny weather with mild winds expected for the coming week

Avalanche danger remains moderate even with spring conditions. A large slab avalanche big enough to be lethal was witness last week, and cornice failures along ridgelines are common this time of year. Check the NW Avalanche Center for the latest forecast.

Mountaineering boots with gaiters, crampons, snowshoes or skis, and ice axes are recommended. With more snow accumulation, backcountry travel becomes increasingly risky and avalanche-prone. Be prepared with avalanche knowledge and equipment, and do not assume other visitors have the same training.
Please check the forecast as conditions can change rapidly.
Avalanche danger is still a concern. This slab avalanche, large enough to be lethal, was witnessed last week.
Cornice failures are also common
along ridgelines
A view of Goat Rocks from the Crater Rim
A large cornice is developing on the rim. Climbers should stay back 15-20 feet.
DO NOT assume that an area is safe just because you see footprints in the snow.

Photos by volunteer Andy Goodwin 4.15.21
Guided adventures to the top of Mount St. Helens are on sale now. This trip offers a fantastic opportunity to reach the top of the Pacific Northwest’s most spectacular volcano and learn about the area’s natural and cultural history in the comfort of a guided group.
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Mount St Helens Climbers Safety Alert: A cornice (giant, overhanging mass of snow) forms every year at the summit and can release at any time, plunging into the crater. Stay well back from the edge and do not trust tracks already present.
A climbing ranger noticed footprints yesterday that were clearly on snow-covered air!!! The actual rim edge is probably 20 feet below and 20 feet back from the apparent rim edge. Regardless of where you see footprints, the cornice is dangerous.
Glissading is fun but is also the number one source of serious injuries. Take off your crampons. Do it only when the snow is soft. Beware of glissade trails that end in rocks, ice, or cliffs. Make sure that your loose gear is stowed. Watch out for glissade trails that will put you in the woods far from the climbing route. Getting lost is easy. Be sure that you follow the glissade trails that take you back to your car.
The 2021 Gifford Pinchot National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map is hot off the presses! The free Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) shows the roads, trails, and areas where you can legally drive your wheeled motor vehicles on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
These roads, trails and areas are designated by type of motor vehicle allowed and the allowable season of use. All motor vehicle operators are required to know and follow the regulations displayed on the MVUM when driving a motor vehicle on the forest.
Download a free, GPS-enabled Motor Vehicle Use Map using the Avenza Maps App
Download a PDF version from our website: Map
Paper copies will also be available outside of ranger district offices. Please call the district office in advance to verify copies are still available. Not all offices are open to walk-up services at this time. Contact Us Learn more about the map. Maps & Publications
Looking to obtain a Mount St. Helens climbing permit?
In 2021 St. Helens climbing permits are available via on the 1st of each month at 7am PST for the following month, during the permit quota season, ending October 31, 2021. This is a change from previous years.
The number of permits available per day during the permit quota season was adjusted for 2021 to reduce congestion and user conflicts at parking areas, facilities, and on the mountain during the COVID-19 pandemic. 300 permits are available per day from April 1 - May 14, and 110 permits per day will be available May 15 – Oct. 31, 2021. Un-needed permits may be refunded up to 7 days before your climb and put back into the permit system for re-sale, so check throughout the season for newly available permits!
*Remember that a valid federal Recreation Pass is required at Climber’s Bivouac trailhead.
Learn more about the route, safety & requirements:
Climbing Mt St Helens
Photo Credit: Alex Brown - The Reflector Newspaper

Mount St. Helens Climbing Permit Seasons 2021
New in 2021: Starting at 7:00 am on March 1, 2021, all climbing permits for the month of April will be available for purchase through Additional permits will be made available on the first
of each month for the subsequent month, throughout the permit quota season, ending October 31, 2021. Review Frequently Asked Questions about the new permit changes.

April 01- May 14 Climbing Season

A permit is required.
A permit fee is charged.
Climbing use is limited to 300 persons a day.
Advance purchase online is required.
Snowmobile use is allowed above 4800 feet with a permit provided that it is outside the designated non-motorized corridor (see non-motorized corridor map).
May 15- October 31 Climbing Season

A permit is required.
A permit fee is charged.
Climbing use is restricted to 110 daily permit holders.
Advance purchase online is required.
Snowmobile use is not allowed above 4800 feet.
November 01- March 31 Climbing Season

A permit is required.
A permit fee is not charged.
Climbing use is unrestricted.
Online registration is not required.
You must self-register at Marble Mtn Sno-Park (open all winter) or at the Climber's Register at Climbers Bivouac (usually closed Dec- May for winter).

Snowmobile use is allowed above 4800 feet with a permit provided that it is outside the designated non-motorized corridor (see non-motorized corridor map).

Ape Caves
03/30/2021: Ape Cave remains closed to align with Washington State efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Forest Road 8303 is currently gated one mile before the cave. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic are prohibited beyond the gate at this time. Opening On May 18, 2021 Ape Cave will re-open to the public with a new timed reservation systemTimed reservation tickets will be available on starting April 29th
What's happening in Castle Rock
Gateway to Mt St Helens
Spirit Lake Memorial Hwy.
SR 504
Castle Rock TT Racing
Castle Rock Festival of Lights - December 11th
Castle Rock Skate Park
Castle Rock Bike Skills Park
Castle Rock in Bloom
Where to Stay in Castle Rock
What's happening in Cougar
Gateway to Mt St Helens
SR 503
Photo Credit: Nathan Takko
Where to stay in Cougar
June Lake - Trail #216B
Offering picnicking opportunities on the shores of June Lake, this 1.6 mile trail is a good choice for families and beginning hikers. June Lake was formed by a 2,000-year-old lava flow blocking a tributary of Swift Creek. The lake is located along the base of a basalt cliff over which a waterfall pours, replenishing the lake’s cold, clear water.

Winter, 2021: Trail open, but requires a mile walk through snow to get to the trailhead. The trailhead lies past the winter road closure on Forest Road 83 just past Marble Mountains Sno-Park.
Trail of Two Forests Interpretive Site
This trail loops through two forests that stand side by side, but are separated in age by 2000 years. One forest is old-growth Douglas-fir and western red-cedar and the other is a young forest that was originally engulfed by lava flows from an eruption of Mount St. Helens over two millennia ago. This forest encompasses three-dimensional imprints of trees in the old lava beds called lava casts. The boardwalk trail loops through the two forests, and is kid friendly.

For the 2021 winter season the site is open, but Forest Road 8303 is gated just beyond the site. Skiing, pedestrian and vehicular traffic are prohibited beyond the gate on 8303 this year due to the Ape Cave closure.
An opening date for Ape Cave is yet to be announced.
Ape Cave Interpretive Site
Temporarily Closed
Re-Opening May 18th
Explore a chilly, pitch-black lava tube over two miles long. A short, paved, accessible trail beneath towering trees leads to a stairwell into the cave. The ¾ mile, one-way lower cave route is relatively easy and family friendly. For the more adventurous, the 1.5 mile upper cave route leads to a climb up an eight foot rock wall and scramble over rock piles, then an exit and a 1.5 mile above ground hike back to the parking lot. In summer, Ape Headquarters, a small visitor center, offers lantern rentals, information and sales items.
Lava Canyon - Trail #184
Unreachable at this time
Views of a rushing ribbon of pools and waterfalls await you on the Lava Canyon Trail. Three sections of the trail, one section which is accessible, provide opportunities for all. Due to closure of the Lava Canyon Suspension Bridge, the 1.4 mile upper loop is not possible. The first small bridge remains open for crossing the river. You may still walk down both sides of the river to the suspension bridge, you just can't cross it. Lower section past the suspension bridge is open.
Windy Ridge Interpretive Site
Unreachable at this time
Located just five miles from Mount St. Helens, Windy Ridge Interpretive Site provides a close-up view of the volcano's crater and a breathtaking panorama of a landscape radically changed during the 1980 eruption and landslide. Below you lies Spirit Lake, with its floating log mat of huge trees swept into it during the eruption. Beyond, view a plain of pumice and ash and denuded hills, still fairly barren but greening with vegetation. Climb a 368 step sand ladder for a higher view. Read interpretive signs to learn about the events and people of the eruption. During summer, join an interpretive program presented at the site's amphitheater. The site is accessible and memorable for all.

Forest Road 99 is gated for the winter just past Wakepish Sno-Park. The road normally opens in late June or early July, depending on how quickly the snow melts out.
What's happening in Longview
Exciting News! Your hometown Cowlitz Black Bears will be using YouTube to stream and archive all home games starting this season. You'll also find exclusive videos, like special promos and inside stories behind the team.
In order for us to obtain a custom URL for the channel, YouTube requires that we have 100 subscribers. Please login to YouTube and subscribe to the Cowlitz Black Bears channel today. You could win an official Adidas goodie bag containing Black Bears merchandise, tickets, and more!
Click here to subscribe. You'll even get notified when we upload new videos and stream games this summer!
This beautiful artwork of the Stageworks marquee was
drawn by Julia Sanchez Styles and is used by permission.
Visit her at jgoeswandering on Instagram for more of her beautiful artwork!
Lake Sacajawea
Longview Public Library
Shay Locomotive
Go Fourth Festival - July
Mint Valley Golf Course
Nutty Narrows Bridge
Where to Stay in Longview
Squirrel Fest - August 21st
Longview Parks & Recreation
Saturdays Starting April 17th - October 30th 9 AM to 2 PM
Tuesdays Starting May 4th - September 14th 9 AM to 2 PM
The Longview Public Library building now open on a limited basis!
Drive-Thru hours will remain the same and we'll continue to offer the same great services there that we have been the past several months. (

OPEN BUILDING HOURS: Monday-Thursday, 10am - 12pm, 2pm - 4pm.
+We will limit the number of people in the building, with a 20 minute time limit for visits.
+NEW: Limited internet computers are available. Log in with your library card, guest pass
(available at the main checkout desk), or reserve by telephone. Desk staff are only able to provide limited assistance at this time.

+Holds will still need to be picked up through Library Drive-Thru.
+Masks are required and will be provided if you don't have one. If you cannot wear a mask, please use our Drive-Thru service.
+Payments accepted by credit card or check only (no cash)

Remember that you can still place holds and pick up library materials (as well as tax forms, mobile print jobs, and more) through Library Drive-Thru and request information, obituaries and reference via phone (360.442.5300--Monday-Friday, 10 am to 4 pm) and Ask a Librarian.

Library Drive-Thru info:
Ask a Librarian:
What's happening in Kelso
Cowlitz County Historical Museum
Tam O'Shanter Park
Where to Stay in Kelso
Highlander Festival - September
Photo Credit: The Daily News
Squatch Fest
Three Rivers Golf Course
What's happening in Kalama
McMenamins Kalama Harbor Lodge
Kalama Marina
Kalama Amphitheater
Festival of Lighted Boats - December 11
Where to Stay in Kalama
Louis Rasmussen Day Park
Port of Kalama Interpretive Center
What's happening in Woodland
Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens
Photo by Vivian Mosby
Holland America Tulip Gardens
Photo by Vivian Mosby
Cedar Creek Grist Mill
Photo by Vivian Mosby
Lewis River Golf
Woodland Planters Days - June - Virtual Event
Where to Stay in Woodland
Woodland MX Park
What's Happening in Toutle & Silverlake
Riverdale Raceway
Arts of the Mountain
Tour de Blast
June 19th
Where to Stay in Toutle
Mount St Helens &
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Road Conditions Report
Visitor Center Hours
Castle Rock Visitor Center
890 Huntington Ave N, Castle Rock, WA
Visitor/Information Center Hours:
Temporarily Closed
Mount St Helens Visitor Center
3029 Spirit Lake Hwy.
Castle Rock, WA 98611
Re-opening 2021
Forest Learning Center
17000 Spirit Lake Hwy.
Toutle, WA 98649
Gift Shop 10 am to 4 pm Thursday - Sunday
Exhibits Temporarily Closed
Johnston Ridge Observatory
24000 Spirit Lake Hwy,
Toutle, WA 98649
Reopening 2021
Science & Learning Center at Coldwater
19000 Spirit Lake Hwy.
Toutle, WA 98649
Visitor/Information Center Hours:
Temporarily Closed
Kelso Visitor Center
105 N Minor Road, Kelso, WA 98626
Visitor/Information Center Hours:
Monday - Friday
9 am to 3 pm
Woodland Information Center
900 Goerig Street,
Woodland, WA 98674
Visitor/Information Center Hours:
Open: 9 am to 4 pm
Open 7 days a week