Lahar Viewpoint Interpretive Site

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Near Cougar, Washington

Lahar Viewpoint Interpretive Site does not offer reservations through Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!


This 1980 mudflow area offers an outstanding view of Mount St. Helen’s (non-crater) south side. The v-notch on the mountain once held Shoestring Glacier, which was liquified along with the surrounding mountain snow from the heat of the eruption. Water mixed with rock and ash, creating a giant lahar (destructive mudflow originating on a volcano) which swept down St. Helens at 100 miles per hour. It raced through the forest and across this location, shearing off most trees and debarking others as far as 30 feet up. A variety of trees, plants and wildlife now inhabit this once-barren mudflow.

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