The Essential Guide to Mount St. Helens
We explore the mountain's top trails and campgrounds, history and lore, and take in in-depth look inside the historic eruption.
Over the ages, Mount St. Helens has had many faces. The youngest and most volatile of the Cascades’ volcanoes was first known as “Loowit” to some of the Native Americans who settled on its flanks. Legends told that the spirit Sahale erected the mountain where he’d killed a beautiful maiden and her two sparring lovers (Adams and Hood, of course). Thereafter, the mesmerizing, Mount Fuji–like peak stood watch over generations of Cascadians, blasting forth rocks and gas periodically while inspiring many to climb its summit and cavort in its shadows. On a single day in 1980, St. Helens transformed into a worldwide symbol of violence and devastation. But in the years that followed, exhilaration and hope took root as the mountain’s entirely new geography of resilience became a revered laboratory of stunning geological and biological processes. Caves, lava domes, hummocks, wildflowers, waterfalls, hot springs—the student of nature (and outdoor fun) will find it all here. It’s time you brush up and take a closer look.