What: The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument opens the Windy Ridge viewpoint late each spring or early summer giving volcano watchers access to the closest spot they can drive to the crater. Recreational opportunities abound in the area, including the Harmony Trail hike to Spirit Lake, picnicking along Smith Creek and mountain biking on the Plains of Abraham.
When: Open daily
Where: Mount St. Helens National Monument
Activities: Hiking, mountain biking, picnicking and volcano watching.
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Getting there: From Interstate 5, take U.S. 12 east to Randle then head south on Forest Service Road 25. At Forest Service Road 99, head southwest to the mountain viewpoint.
Cost: A $5 per day Northwest Forest Pass is required for trailhead parking.
Of note: Windy Ridge is within four miles of Mount St. Helens. You will have to walk up 361 steps from the parking lot to the viewpoint. Interpretive talks are given throughout the day by Monument rangers.
Information: 360-449-7800, www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/mshnvm