Five Fun Facts About Mount St. Helens

mount st helens

Mt. St. Helens made worldwide news in 1980 when it erupted violently, killing 57 people and causing a great deal of devastation. Shortly after its eruption, Mt. St. Helens became one of the top attractions in the Pacific Northwest. In the decades since the eruption, people who live within the region, as well as those who are traveling to the area from around the country, have ventured out to see and learn as much as they can about this important natural attraction.

There is a lot to know about this incredible place to visit. Check out these five fun facts about Mt. St. Helens.

What’s In A Name?

Mt. St. Helens was named by explorer George Vancouver in honor of his close friend, and British diplomat, Alleyne FitzHerbert, 1st Baron St. Helens.

Thanks, President Reagan!

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan and the United States Congress established Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

On The Big Screen

The film, The Eruption of Mt. St. Helens, was made by a film crew that was dropped on the mountain just five days after the May 18, 1980 eruption. The crew became lost soon after and had to be rescued by the National Guard on May 27th.

Who Owned It?

At the time it erupted, the summit of Mt. St. Helens was actually owned by the Burlington Northern Railroad. It had been part of the North Pacific Land Grant signed in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln.

Tons Of Ash

It’s estimated that a total of 2,400,000 cubic yards, or 900,000 tons, of ash from the eruption of Mt. St. Helens had to be removed from highways and airports in Washington State.

Five Great Attractions Within An Easy Drive Of Packwood, Washington

Packwood Washington

Packwood Washington

The small town of Packwood is a very cool little community stuck way up in the Cascade Mountains, very near to both Mt. Rainier and the White Pass Ski Area. When you visit there you’ll be treated to some fun activities, beautiful scenery, and some nice places to get a bite to eat too. You’ll also get the chance to see some great examples of wildlife walking right through town. One of Packsood’s great assets too is that it is conveniently located very near to several other great attractions.

Here are five great attractions within an easy drive of Packwood, Washington.

Paradise at Mt. Rainier

The absolute top draw for anyone staying in or visiting Packwood is of course Mt. Rainier National Park. When you drive up into the park, make sure you drive about as far as you can go and make it all the way up to Paradise where the Paradise Inn, Paradise Ranger Station, and Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center are. Once there, check out all that you can learn in the visitor center, take some photos of the mountain in all its glory, and take the time to walk the 15 minutes up to Myrtle Falls. On the way back down the mountain, don’t forget to stop at Narada Falls, Reflection Lake, and the Box Canyon of the Cowlitz.

Rimrock Lake

On the other side of the Cascade Mountains from Packwood is Rimrock Lake. Rimrock Lake is home to some great mountain boating and fishing opportunities. There are several campgrounds and places where you can get down to the water and splash around too. There are even some lakeside eating out opportunities too. The drive over to Rimrock Lake can be a fun outing when you’re staying in Packwood or the surrounding area.

Windy Ridge Viewpoint

One of the more popular attractions in the Cascade Mountains in Washington is Mt. St. Helens. When you visit or stay in Packwood, you’re less than a couple of hours from one of the best places to view the mountain’s volcanic crater from, Windy Ridge Viewpoint. After you wind through the local forest and pass by a couple of other fun stops you’ll come to the viewpoint. From there, you’ll look right into the impressive crater. For an even better view, hike up the hundreds of steps that lead you to a higher place to view the mountain from. This is another of the many places around Packwood that you want to remember to bring your camera to.

Grove of the Patriarchs

Located near the Ohanapecosh visitor center in Mt. Rainier National Park is a short hiking destination known as the Grove of the Patriarchs. When you walk along these level and easily accessible trails you’ll be among some of the biggest and oldest trees in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Take your camera because there are a lot of fun photo opportunities, including some really huge trees just waiting for you to pose in front of them. The suspension bridge is a nice bonus that everyone loves.

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad

Drive west and then north from Packwood and you’ll reach the tiny town of Elbe. This area is a fun little part of the Cascades to explore, but the top thing to do there is to take a ride on the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad. When you take this ride, you’ll be able to see the same scenic beauty that rail passengers saw long ago. You’ll also be treated to views you can’t get from riding in an automobile. Top that with a first class railroad museum and it’s easy to see why this experience is loved by people year after year.

Five Great Attractions Within An Easy Drive Of Olympia

Washington State Capitol

Olympia is both an important and fun destination in Washington State. You can stop there on a road trip through the area and visit the State Capitol, several museums, breweries, and all sorts of local scenic attractions. Olympia is also popular because it is located very near some great things to see and do. Here are just five of the many great things to see and do within an easy drive of Olympia

Ocean Shores

Ocean Shores is located on the Pacific coastline just west of Olympia. This beachfront community that sits on a peninsula has a lot to offer. There are tourist activities available like bumper boats, go karts, moped rentals, miniature golf, and more. The best part of Ocean Shores though is of course the beach. There is plenty of beach space to explore and stake out for yourself too. There are also miles of drivable beach too which means you can roll down the window and feel the wind off the water while you motor down the beach and find a place all to yourself. Visiting Ocean Shores for a couple of hours or more while staying in Olympia is a great idea.

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad

Travel east from Olympia to the tiny town of Elbe and you’ll be able to take part in a very cool activity, the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad. Here you’ll be able to climb aboard a historic train and enjoy a trip through the woods on a rail line that has been operating in the area for a very long time. The route gives you a view of many things you would never see from the road and you also get a chance to check out one of the best railroad museums in the region. There’s nothiung quite like a ride on the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is located in a scenic part of Tacoma known as Point Defiance. The zoo is historic in nature which is very interesting, but what will be even better for you and anyone you’re traveling with are all the animals there. The zoo includes great examples of exotic animals from around the world. There is also a nice section devoted to animals from the Pacific Northwest. You’re sure to leave Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium trying to decide which was your favorite animal that you saw.

Johnston Ridge Observatory

Located south from Olympia by about two hours is Johnston Ridge Observatory. This important scenic sight is the best place to observe the crater of Mt. St. Helens from. You can tour the visitor center and learn a great deal about the surrounding land and the eruption that changed the geography there in 1980. You can also venture out to the viewpoint and see the hugeness of this important location up close and in person. You’ll really want to have your camera along for this. It’s something you won’t want to miss.

Ferry Ride to Seattle

With a drive of a little over an hour north to Bremerton, you can drive or walk on board and take an hour long ferry ride across Puget Sound to the Seattle Waterfront. Once there, you can hang out in the waterfront area, get a bite to eat, do some shopping, and then get back on board for another ferry ride back. While the Seattle Waterfront is great and has a lot to offer, one of the best parts about this experience is the ferry ride across the water. Relax and watch the water go by and the scenery change. There’s always plenty of activity on the water too with other ferries, sailboats, and ships active in the area. A ferry ride to Seattle is a great way to make any trip to Olympia even better.