Windy Ridge Viewpoint
One of the finest views of the Mt. St. Helens crater at Windy Ridge is just a 90-minute drive from Stevenson on the Columbia River Gorge or from Randle off US-12, the White Pass Scenic Byway.
From Randle, take SR-131 south and follow the signs to the Windy Ridge Viewpoint.
For an optional and unique route from the Gorge, follow Highway 14 east from Stevenson about three miles to the Carson Junction. Turn north on Wind River Highway (FS 30) and follow the signs north to the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
Drive slowly through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest because you don’t want to miss anything – including sighting a herd of elk that may be sauntering along the road. Make sure to stop at McClellan Viewpoint along the way for a great photo opportunity as it is the first time you will spy Mount St. Helens. At the intersection of Curly Creek Road and FS 90 Road, stop at the Eagle Cliff Store to enjoy some of the local scenery. Buy a post card, soft drink or just enjoy the quiet of the forest. From there head north on FS 25 Road toward Windy Ridge.
When you turn off of FS 25 onto FS 99 toward Windy Ridge, make note of the interpretive signage along the way. Plan to stop and experience this trip back to 1980, the year Mt. St. Helens erupted. The road into Windy Ridge is a great example of how the flora and fauna has changed since that dramatic reminder of Mother’s Nature power. And the signs will tell the story with some very visual markers. Once you arrive at the viewpoint at Windy Ridge, take the time to walk the 357 steps to the top of the ridge where you can almost reach out and touch the crater or look right down into Spirit Lake. After re-tracing your steps back FS 99, turn left on FS 25 and turn the car north toward Randle and Mt. Rainier.
Please note that FS 25 and FS 99 are closed during the winter. Typically snow will close the roads at the beginning of November and the US Forest Service will re-open them once the snow has melted. Sometimes this is as early as Memorial Day but can be as late as the 4th of July in big snow years.
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Phone: (509) 427-8911
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