Vacations To Go
Day 2 Friday August 10th  
8:00 a.m. Depart: Portland  
    (Go right on Stark. Enter I-205 north. It will enter I-5. Take exit 49 right on Hwy 504. )  
9:00 a.m. Arrive: Castle Rock 57
    (Continue on Hwy 504 west.)  
  Arrive: Mt St. Helens National Monument  
  See: Visitor Center $5/adult (9-5)
Inside, visitors can enjoy a variety of interpretive displays that include comprehensive information on local history, geology, and re-growth and recovery of the land in the years immediately after the eruption.
Displays include:
  • Large, step-in model of the volcano
  • Life-size mannequins
  • functioning seismograph and live feed of current Mount St. Helens volcano seismicity
  • Chronological timeline of events leading up to the volcanic blast on May 18, 1980
  • Theater program offered twice an hour; at :05 and :35 after. 

Outdoors, visitors can explore Silver Lake along the 0.6 mile-long trail, including boardwalks over the wetland where a variety of aquatic plants and migratory waterfowl can be viewed at different times of the year.

 
  See: Forest Learning Center (10-4) Free
Mile marker 33 on SR 504, this is  undoubtedly the best exhibit on the mountain. Children  will joyfully play in the playground, as well as climb into the helicopter and pretend to be flying around the  mountain. The eruption chamber is an awesome experience.     They also feature the best gift shop on the  highway.
33
    Johnson Ridge Observatory (May-Oct 10-6) $8 per adult
at the 52  mile marker on SR 504, is named after the volcanologist  David Johnston, who was camped out on this ridge  observing the volcano when it blew. His final words were  “Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it.” He was never found.  This site has an awesome view, as well as great  exhibits.  In the heart of the volcano’s blast zone, interpretive displays indelibly portray the sequence of geologic events that transformed the landscape and opened up a new era in the science of monitoring an active volcano and forecasting eruptions
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  Depart: Johnson Ridge  
    (Go back out on Hwy 504. Enter I-5 going left/south. Take exit 36 right onto Hwy 432/Tennant Way. It will go left on 3rd. Turn left on Hwy 433 over the Columbia River. Turn right on Hwy 30. In Astoria go right to enter the road to cross the Columbia River again for Hwy 101. After crossing go left on Hwy 101. In Ilwaco it will go right on Spruce. Turn right on 1st. Go up to northwest 14th and turn left.)  
3 hrs. Lodge: Chautauquah Lodge $298.28
304 NW 14th
Long Beach, OR
(1st floor, 2 queens)
137
(246)
Optional:   From Johnson Ridge  
    (Go back out on Hwy 504. Enter I-5 going left/south. Take exit 22. Go left on the Old Pacific Hwy over the freeway. At the Police Dept. angle left onto Hwy 503. Take the 2nd exit at the roundabout. Continue on Hwy 503. After crossing the river it will become Rd 90. Pass the town of Cougar, and just 1 mile beyond the Swift Dam (about 35 miles from your turn off I-5), make a left onto FR 83. Proceed two miles and turn left onto FR 8303. The trailhead is on the left, a half mile away.)  
2 hr 22 min Arrive: Trail of Two Forest Interpretive Site
This trail loops through two forests that stand side by side, but are separated in age by 2000 years. One forest is old-growth Douglas-fir and western red-cedar and the other is a young forest that was originally engulfed by lava flows from an eruption of Mount St. Helens over two millennia ago. 

The other forest, known formerly as the Lava Cast Forest, encompasses three-dimensional imprints of trees in the old lava beds called lava casts. The boardwalk trail loops through the two forests, and is kid- and wheelchair-friendly.

During eruptive activity some 1900 years ago, fluid lava flowed through a stand of trees, burning them but leaving impressions where they stood or lay. This lava was quite different from the sticky type of lava that forms the dome in the crater of St. Helens today. 

When you visit the Trail of Two Forests, please stay on the trail -- the mosses and surrounding features of the forest are fragile. 

WTA Pro Tip: One attraction along the boardwalk is a ladder descending eight feet into a lava-cast tree mold. Hikers can crawl through the tree mold, an activity especially popular with youngsters. Flashlights and old, warm clothes are good preparation for the fun.
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    (Continue left on 8303. Watch for the sign to Ape Caves in 2 miles. )  
    Ape Caves $5/forest pass (10-5)
The parking lot and visitor area facilities are flat and paved. A paved trail leads to the lower cave entrance, but gets rougher to reach the upper entrance. Bring 2-3 lighting sources per person. Rent a lantern for $5. 2 vault toilets.

The lower cave is the more popular route with its fairly level, mudflow-covered floor. Highlights include “railroad tracks” and the "meatball." Allow at least an hour to complete the 1.6-mile round trip. The upper cave travels over large rock piles and requires scaling of an 8-foot lava fall.

Two-thirds of the way up you will pass beneath The Skylight, an opening to the surface. Do not try to climb out; this is NOT an exit. The upper entrance is only 0.25 mile ahead.

Allow 2.5 hours for travel through the upper cave to Ape Cave Trail #239. 

To help stop the Spread of White Nose Syndrome and to Help Keep Our Caves Open please decontaminate your clothing and equipment before visiting from another cave. Please see Keep our Caves Open for more information on WNS.

 
    Ape Caves Letterbox  
    (Go back out on Hwy 8303. Turn right on 83. Go right again on 90. It will become Hwy 503. Enter I-5 going right/north. Take exit 36 up and over the freeway onto Hwy 432/Tennant Way. It will go left on 3rd. Turn left on Hwy 433 over the Columbia River. Turn right on Hwy 30. In Astoria go right to enter the road to cross the Columbia River again for Hwy 101. After crossing go left on Hwy 101. In Ilwaco it will go right on Spruce. Turn right on 1st. Go up to northwest 14th and turn left.)  
2 hr 41 min Arrive: Long Beach 124
(350)
  Lodge: Chautauquah Lodge $298.28
304 NW 14th
Long Beach, OR
(1st floor, 2 queens)