Johnston Ridge Observatory Fully Opens for First Time in Three Summers


TOUTLE — For the first time in three summers, the Johnston Ridge Observatory fully opened for the season Monday.

The observatory is located at the end of Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, or State Route 504, and includes, an information desk and a gift shop, as well as interpretive displays about Mount St. Helens and the 1980 eruption.

The visitor’s center remained mostly closed the last two summers because of the pandemic. Last year, the site was open, along with the gift shop and bathrooms, but the observatory and its exhibits were closed.

The observatory is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Entry costs $8 per person and interagency “America the Beautiful” passes are accepted.

Pets are prohibited at the plaza and interpretive area to protect plant and animal life and provide for visitor safety. In all other areas, pets must be on a leash.

The parking lot is open for free. The upper portion of Spirit Lake Memorial Highway reopened in late March.