Our best-of-the-lady-mountain tour combines our favorite parts of the mountain, distributed so that you can enjoy the day without enormous chunks of trace time.
Your group will discuss the best route with your tour guide upon the commencement of the morning; we’ll maximize meeting the expectations of your group (with an eye toward the always-changing weather) and minimize the travel time, which, due to the realities of visiting a volcano post-eruption, is the longest of any of our tours.
The classic guide favorites day includes a visit to a lava cast forest in which you can look down the molds of trees long since killed by molten rock or crawl through a small lava tube, followed by an unparalleled experience in a 3/4-mile, 1-km long lava tube (we bring the headlamps, you bring the layers — temperatures in the cave are a constant 42 F / 5.5 C), and a viewpoint at which (on days when the mountain smiles upon us) you can see the much-shortened mountain top as close as roads will take you, with gorgeous vistas and, in season, a carpet of wildflowers and wild berries.
Depending on your group’s needs and weather, you will visit either the Mt. St. Helens Visitors Center or the Johnston Ridge Visitors Center; admission to a Visitor’s Center is included; and there’s a chance at seeing the lava-flow waterfall that most mesmerizes us.
The decision to visit the Johnston Ridge Visitor’s Center hinges on your group’s appetite for long drives and the day’s weather. From this point, views into the crater are possible, and your group can view the stunning sight of the Toutle River Canyon filled with hundreds of feet of ash and mudflow from the volcano’s center. The spectacle of the (still growing) inside of the crater is, however, often covered by clouds, sometimes for many days at a time. Many find the geologic education at the nearer Castle Rock-based Mt. St. Helens Visitors Center, along with the views of the mountain from her south approach (the one most summit climbers take), along with the molded-lava waterfall nearby, to be worth the trip all on their own.
We will bring plentiful snacks and beverages, including food appropriate for a picnic lunch, as there are few food options on the mountain. Many guests choose to bring a few of their own favorites along as well; our coolers will have extra room.
The tour is priced at $175 per adult, $145 per child (0-17). Schedule is typically 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.