5 ways to get off the grid at Mount St. Helens
Vacationing without your phone may seem out of the question (you need to let your IG followers know about all of the pic-worthy adventures you’re taking, right?). Plus, you’ll probably need the Maps app to get around in a foreign city and access to Google to look up the best restaurants. But, will hours of mindless scrolling help or harm your getaway with friends and family? (You already know the answer).
That’s why it’s time to plan a trip to a place where you can truly unplug and relive the glory days of no #FirstWorldProblems. And Mount St. Helens is the perfect place to do just that. It’s close enough for a weekend drive, but far enough away that you’ll feel off the grid. So, instead of spending an entire vacation checking work emails, spend it hiking, camping, and playing with the ones you love at one of Washington’s most beautiful locations.
Below, five Mount St. Helens activities that are just erupting with fun.
1.Horseback riding. What better way to explore the great outdoors than by riding one of the Earth’s most majestic animals? Learn how to rope and ride with the experts at Rocking Horse Ranch or take a guided tour of the beautiful backcountry with Eco Park Resort owner Mark Smith, a survivor of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Experienced riders can tack up and explore more than 50 miles of trails and the Kalama Horse Camp loop trail, which is just outside of the blast zone—you’ll see tons of evidence of previous volcanic activity with incredible views of the mountain.
2.Helicopter tours. Looking for adventure without all of the sweat and hard work? Experience the wonders of a volcano from the best vantage point—in the air! Mount St. Helens Helicopter Tours operate from July through mid-September, and the Hillsboro Aviation pilots are extremely knowledgeable about the area. You’ll receive a thorough narrative during the tour, providing geographic and cultural context to the striking visuals you’ll witness on your journey. Snag a trip on a clear day, and you’ll see spectacular views of Mount Rainer to the north and Mount Adams to the east, framing the eruption zone that stretches for over 15 miles.
3.Biking. It doesn’t matter if you’re into road biking or mountain biking—there are plenty of opportunities to explore Mount St. Helens on two wheels. For mountain bikers, the Ape Canyon ride begins on the south side of Mount St. Helens and is one of the Northwest’s premiere mountain biking treks, with varied landscapes and incredible vistas. For road bikers, the annual Tour de Blast is the essential summer event for road bikers, attracting more than 1,000 people each year. The 82-mile route from Toutle to Johnston Ridge takes riders into the very heart of the blast zone.
4.Ziplining. Calling all adventure-seekers: Treehouse Island Zipline Adventures is a 50-acre island where you can traverse cables under the canopy of majestic trees. You’ll be surrounded with breathtaking views and natural surroundings, and a rush of adrenaline with each ride. The longest cable line is 600 feet, and the tallest zipline is 75 feet in the air. Don’t worry—the course is family-friendly (the minimum age is 9).
5.Climbing and hiking. Don’t just look at Mount St. Helens from afar—climb the active volcano! At 8,328 feet high, Mount St. Helens offers climbers a breathtaking view from the crater rim. The average summer climb is about four and a half hours up and three and a half hours down and is more difficult in snowy conditions—the average winter climb is about six hours up and four hours down. You will need a climbing permit to embark on this adventure.
Ready to explore a mountain of possibilities? Plan your trip online at www.visitmtsthelens.com or call the Cowlitz County Tourism office at 360-577-3137 for more information.