South Side Sights

Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument

Cougar, Washington

Along Forest Service Rd 83 off Forest Service Rd 90

Most visitors to Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Site head for Johnston Ridge Observatory off off I-5. There are a number of less visited sites along the south and east sides of Mt. St. Helens. These were less impacted by the 1980 eruption, instead showcasing the the mountain's older volcanic landscape.

Most of these are accessed via the Forest Service roads between Cougar and Randle. There are virtually no services between the two towns.


south side of mt st helens

South Side of Mt. St. Helens (O04A0282)
During the 1980 eruption, the north side of Mt. St. Helens collapsed. However, the south side survived, providing visitors with an idea of what the mountain looked like before the eruption.


sediment layers

Sediment Layers Exposed (O04A0309)
Past eruptions left layers of sediment on the south side of Mt. St. Helens. Erosion has exposed a cross-section of recently added layers.


tree hole

Trail of Two Forests Tree Hole (O04A0273)
The Trail of Two Forests Interpretive Site trail winds its way through two forests. The one growing today contains old growth Douglas fir and western red cedar trees. The other was captured in lava flows 2,000 years ago, leaving behind tree holes, lava casts created when lava surrounded tree trunks and cooled.

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