Exploring Big Foot Country at Mount St.Helens

Mount St.Helens is a great half day to full day adventure and just two hours from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. You may even get lucky and spot Big Foot on your trip! There are tons of different hikes and places to explore inside the Monument. Here are some spots we checked out on our trip!
First up, what to wear? Make sure you check the weather for the area and always bring a rain jacket just in case. The day we went was a hot 86 degree Saturday afternoon. I grabbed the Pink Ciara Shorts ($35) and paired them with the Namira Neon Tassel Tank ($35) which we are almost sold out of! I wanted a pop of pink so I added the lace bralette ($30) underneath my tank, which are in store exclusives. Now I know you can't see them in this photo but I'm wearing our Zana Glitter Sneakers ($30) which are a must for hiking. As always, we offer FREE shipping at www.livandrory.com
Summer is the perfect time to visit Mount St.Helens and experience the gorgeous blooms of the wildflowers. We did a late afternoon trip leaving around 3pm and returning around 10. Driving to St.Helens from JBLM, the last town you will drive through is Toledo. There is only one more gas station past here so make sure you've got plenty for the drive. We headed to the monument first and did the stops on the way down. Johnston Ridge Observatory will pull up on Apple and Google Maps. Just make sure you pull up directions before you loose cell service.
Keep in mind that dogs are not allowed anywhere on the trails so leave Fido at home this trip! Inside the observatory is where you'll need to purchase a pass or show an accepted pass. Day passes are $8 per adult. If you are military you can get the America the Beautiful Pass for free which is accepted here.
Inside the observatory is a small gift shop, restrooms, a short video, and some history of the monument. If you've got the kids with you grab them a Junior Ranger book! This is a completely free program. The Ranger will tell you how many pages they'll need to fill out and once they are done they'll receive a badge! If you don't finish in time you can mail in the books to get your badge. the observatory is open 10-6 daily. 
The small Loop trail by the observatory is a mere half mile. There is plenty of parking in the large lot and this is an easy paved trail that is stroller friendly.
Once you get to the top the back of the trail just leads down to the parking lot so we turned around and went back the way we came to take in the views again.
There are lots of informational signs on the trail that talk about the eruption in 1980 and how it changed the area.
There are signs everywhere to remind you, but you must stay on the trail and are not allowed to go off the pavement. 
The last look out offers a gorgeous view of the rest of the park facing away from St.Helens.
Keep an eye out for wildlife! We saw quite a few little chipmunks running around.
Also I found it fascinatingly disgusting, that there were caterpillar eggs hatching everywhere. In the book Eric Carle does not mention how the mother caterpillar spins a nasty looking spider nest on the leaves.
As I mentioned before, we started at Johnston Ridge Observatory and then did the stops on the way down but you can stop on the way up too! Every lookout/viewpoint has its own beautiful and unique view of the monument so if you have time, stop and see them!
Loowit Viewpoint has the prettiest wildflowers by far.
The next viewpoint has a great view of St.Helens with a lake off in the distance.
Coldwater Lake is the next area you'll come to and we actually thought it was more enjoyable than St.Helens. We parked in the boat ramp area but there is also a dock by the picnic tables. If you need a bathroom break this is a good area!
Coldwater Lake is so beautiful it looks photoshopped. There is a hiking trail here but we just played along the beach and explored nearby the dock.
You can put in boats, kayak or canoe here. 
It's a beautiful spot for a picnic too! I would love to wake up to this view every morning.
The last stop on the way back down is the Forest Learning Center. Unfortunately it was closed by the time we got down but the reviews are great for a free and fun center for learning about the volcano!
For more information about Mount St. Helens Volcanic National Monument, visit mountsthelens.com
We found Bigfoot! On your drive back down make sure you stop at Big Foot Country! Besides the 20 foot tall big foot statue, there is a small gift shop and snack stand. This is also where you can take Helicopter Tours of Mount St.Helens.
Whether you stop on the way up or the way down, Fire Mountain Grill is a MUST! The view itself is worth it but they've got amazing food as well. We sat outside and enjoyed this view with our dinner:
I got a burger which was literally the best burger I've ever had. If you are in the mood for a challenge you can try to devour the big foot burger in 30 minutes and get a free tee.
 I also got the Huckleberry Lemonade, I could've drank a gallon. Don't forget dessert. They advertise thier cobblers and for good reason, they are heaven on earth! We got the Mountain Berry Cobbler with Huckleberry Ice Cream. 
So we ate great food, saw some amazing sights and even got to see Big Foot! 
You are Beautiful, You are Strong, You are Smart, so Dress like it!
Love, Liv & Rory

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