Science and Learning Center at Coldwater

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Near Toutle, Washington

Science and Learning Center at Coldwater 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 facility is located at milepost 43 on State Highway 504, approximately 10 miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory. During winter, it is the closest access to Mount St. Helens from the west. Stop in to get information about exploring the monument, learn about education programs offered, or shop at the bookstore.  A pet rest area is located a mile down the road at Coldwater Lake near the Lakes Trail.

There are two trails near the building perfect for exploration. The accessible Winds of Change Trail is a 1/4 mile paved path leading through a part of the Blast Zone.  The Elk Bench Trail starts near the building and connects with the Lakes Trail #211, providing stunning views of Coldwater Lake and frequent elk sightings along the way.  Once connected with the Lakes Trail, head north along the shore of Coldwater Lake and begin your exploration into Mount Margaret Backcountry.

Rentals:  The Science and Learning Center has conference rooms, simple overnight group accomodations, and a kitchen available for day or overnight rentals for small conferences, classes and events. For information about renting the Science and Learning Center, visit

Educational Programs: The Science and Learning Center hosts schools and provides in-depth and extended education programs to groups visiting the volcano. We offer overnight stays in the Science and Learning Center for education programs as well as hands-on education in the Volcanic Monument. Programs vary from 2 hours to multiple days.

For more information on programs or volunteering, visit the Mount St. Helens Institute's website or contact 360-449-7883.