Mount St Helens. Mountain in Washington, United States

Mount St Helens

Mountain in Washington, United States

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Mount St Helens

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Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument - Mount St Helens
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument - Mount St Helens. Photo by Jasperdo
Mount St. Helens, also known as Loowit or Lawtlat’la, is an active volcano situated in Skamania County, Washington, in the Northwest region of the United States. The mountains are 80 kilometers northeast of Portland, Oregon, and 154 kilometers south of Seattle, Washington. Mount St. Helens is named after Lord St. Helens (Wikipedia
	Article), who was a British diplomat, friend of George Vancouver, a British explorer who surveyed this area back in the 18th century.


The American Indians made up several legends trying to explain the volcano’s eruptions. The Klickitat people (Wikipedia Article) came up with a famous story, the “Bridge of the Gods”, where the absolute chief of the gods, together with his sons, Wy’east and Pahto, were trying to find a suitable settlement. When they reached “The Dalles”, they never thought they could find such a beautiful place. The two young brothers started a dispute on where to place the settlement and their father had to make a decision. He shot two arrows – one to the north and the other one to the south. Wy’east followed the south arrow, while Phato went to search the north one and so the chief managed to build the “Bridge of the Gods”.

Shortly after, the two sons fell in love with a beautiful woman named Loowit, but she was not able to choose between them. The two brothers started to fight for her, devastating the surroundings, provoking anger. The king punished all of them, transforming them into mountains. And so, Wy’east became Mount Hood, Pahto became Mount Adams, and Loowit, the woman they fought for, became Mount St. Helens.

Mount St. Helens National
	Volcanic Monument - Mount St Helens
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument - Mount St Helens. Photo by Jasperdo

Geography and Geology

The Cascade province makes up an arc, linking Northern Carolina and British Columbia. Only in this region, approximately 18 active volcanoes are ready to erupt at any time. The Insular Mountains, the North Cascades, the Columbia Plateau, the Coast Mountains, and the Cascade Volcanoes are the five geological regions in this area.

However, the Pacific Northwest geology is different, complex, and confusing. When Pangaea began rupturing, the North American plate started to move to the west side; this happened more than 200 million years ago. Since then, the west side of America has grown as a volcanic arc, with the addition of ocean-floor rocks.


In 1982, the United States Congress alongside with former president Ronald Reagan, set out the “Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument”, a huge area near the mountain. After the 1980 eruption, the area was left behind, mountain climbing being closed until 1987, when the United States Forest Services decided to reopen it. However, it was only opened until 2004, when the volcano showed some renewed activity. In July 2006, after some studies, the mountain was once again reopened and it is available nowadays as well.

Fauna and Flora

High-profile species that live near Mountain St. Helens include Olympic marmot, mountain beaver, American pika, Roosevelt elk, snowshoe hare and shrew-mole. During spring times, mosquitos and black flies can be very painful. Some birds that can be met around include bald eagle, American robin, dark-eyed junco and spotted towhee. The forests are a mixture of trees, including pine, maple, aspen, hemlock and fir.

Mount St. Helens - Mount St
Mount St. Helens - Mount St Helens. Photo by Jennifer C.

Visiting Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens can be an ideal destination for both experienced and rookie climbers. The peak is ready for climbing 365 days a year, even though springtime is the most popular times for climbing. Since 1987, the administration have introduced a permit system, which is needed for anyone who desires to climb at more than 1.500 meters. During warmer months, tourists prefer the “Monitor Ridge Route” and during winter times they opt for the “Worm Flows Route”.

Moreover to this, Mount St. Helens is definitely a true relaxation zone for families with children and also for large groups of youngsters; nobody will ever get bored because there are plenty things to do. If visitors expected to be surrounded by cold people and freezing temperature in Mount St. Helen, they should think again! People are friendly here, and the climate is surprisingly warm for region located so far north. Tourism is flourishing here and it’s just a formality to find accommodation.

How to Get There

Tourists can get to Mount St. Helens either by car or by bus. Although getting there by bus might be cheaper, using the personal vehicle can make the trip even more exciting. Exploring Gifford Pinchot National and Mount Adams is a must because of the outstanding views. Takhlakh Lake and Panther Creek Falls are only some of the beautiful sights that the natural environment is offering.

Similar Landmarks

Other fascinating mountains that need to be visited in the United States of America are Mount Katahdin, Mount Hood, Mount Evans, and El Capitan. Other similar landmarks outside the United States are Mont Blanc, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Aconcagua, and Mount Fuji.

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Author: Iuliana. Last updated: Mar 03, 2015


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