|Marble Mountain-Trout Creek Hill||Mountains||36km|
|Trout Creek Hill||Mountains||43km|
|Battle Ground Lake State Park||Mountains||50km|
|Silver Star Mountain||Mountains||50km|
Mt. St. Helens is an active volcano. Due to explosions, its height has been repeatedly lowered. The volcanic eruptions together with lava always take a part of the mountain with them. The yet strongest explosion of the volcano came on 18 May 1980. Hundreds of square kilometers of the surrounding woods and a part of the volcano's top were scattered into the area. The today's volcano of Mt. St. Helens is app. 2600 m high. The last eruption was recorded in 2006. Even though the area has been gradually recovering from the explosion in 1980, traces of the catastrophe are still evident in the landscape. In the lower parts of the mountain, you can identify the way the broken trees rolled during the disastrous explosion at first sight. The experts have agreed on the fact that another eruption is just a matter of time.
The volcano began to send warning signals in March 1980. Apart from light earthquakes, unordinary clouds were recorded above the top of Mt St Helens. The geologists first thought it was a result of the flowing of water below the hot mountain's core and did not realize their mistake soon enough. The molten rock was elevated nearer to the surface and due to the rising of the pressure of the water it contained, a bulginess was created at the northern side of the mountain. It grew bigger every day. On 18 May, a great mass of rock, ash, steam and gas began to move. The whole northern part of Mt. St. Helens disintegrated and experts later stated that it was the biggest landslide ever. The Spirit Lake was buried. Poisonous gases exploded north of the crater and immediately destroyed vast areas of woods. Layers of mud and ash shut down the ship route on the Columbia River for weeks. Even after many years, layers of volcanic ash appeared on the fields and roads of the surrounding area. The locals were then warned early enough and were strongly advised to evacuate themselves. Perhaps they were warned too early because some of them returned home when the volcano did not explode at the predicted time. 59 people died during the eruption.
The area around Mt. St. Helens is accessible from the road from Portland or Seattle . You should not definitely miss the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center, which offers a view right into the volcano's crater accompanied by an expert presentation and a film. You can take a walk along the foothill of the Windy Ridge following one of the marked paths. The most popular of them will offer you a view of the Spirit Lake, which was buried by pieces of tree trunks during the 1980 eruption and will lead you nearer the lava dome in the volcano's crater.