Amboy is a charming rural town in Clark County, Washington, set in the shadows of the immense Mount St. Helens, famed for its iconic 1980 eruption. The lovely town is located less than an hour's drive from Portland, Oregon, making it a great stop for a weekend trip jumping-off point to explore the attractions of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Visitors won't want to miss sights such as the Windy Ridge Viewpoint, known for its sweeping road curves and impressive views right down into the crater of the volcano. Coldwater Lake's recreation area offers interpretive trails and opportunities for stellar trout fishing, while the Lower Lewis River Falls trail provides chances to snap nature photography photos of nearly half a dozen spectacular waterfalls.
1.Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument preserves a 110,000-acre natural area surrounding the iconic Mount St. Helens, known around the world for its dramatic 1980 eruption. The monument was established two years after the event to protect sensitive natural areas affected by the eruption and to promote research into the effects of volcanic eruptions. Park visitors can climb to the summit of the volcano with permits or enjoy stunning photo opportunities from the Windy Ridge overlook, considered to be one of Washington's best scenic drives. Several visitor centers in the park offer geologic exhibits, documentary films, informational interpretive trails, and ranger-led programming. Visitors can also explore the Ape Cave lava tubes, the contiguous United States' longest continuous lava tube, via the designated National Recreation Trail Ape Cave Trail.
3029 Spirit Lake Hwy, Castle Rock, WA 98611, Phone: 360-449-7800
2.Windy Ridge Viewpoint
Windy Ridge Viewpoint offers the best scenic views of immense and imposing Mount St. Helens from anywhere within Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The beautiful Forest Highway is widely considered to be one of Washington State's best scenic drives, offering a safe, well-paved opportunity to explore the area between Windy and Independence Passes. Sweeping curves along the road create a dramatic driving experience that is especially popular with motorcycle riders. At the road's 4,200-foot summit near Spirit Lake, drivers can enjoy unparalleled views directly into the crater of the volcano. Drivers can also take connecting Forest Highway roads to other overlooks, including Bear Meadow Viewpoint.
Forest Rd 99, Cougar, WA 98616, Phone: 360-449-7800
Coldwater Lake is a lovely barrier lake near Amboy that was created by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, which dammed nearby Coldwater Creek with volcanic debris. The lake, which is located along the border of Washington's Skamania and Cowlitz Counties, is located within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and flows into the nearby Toutle River along its southwestern end. It is known as one of the Portland area's premiere outdoor recreation sites, offering a boat ramp for non-motorized watercraft and opportunities to catch rainbow and cutthroat trout throughout the year. Beautiful panoramic vistas of the lake are showcased at the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center, which is also home to a public science and learning center. Day-use picnic sites are available for visitor use, along with a 0.6-mile interpretive trail documenting the lake's formation after the eruption.
1501 E. Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661, Phone: 360-891-5000
4.Lower Lewis River Falls
Lower Lewis River Falls offer one of Southwest Washington's most beautiful hiking overlooks, showcasing a spectacular 43-foot cascade that stretches 200 feet across the Lewis River. Hikers can access the falls via an 8.8-mile roundtrip hike that gains 450 feet in elevation to a high point of 1,300 feet above sea level. Along the way, beautiful patches of old-growth cedar and fir forest areas are viewable, along with unique ancient forest areas of coralroot, pinesap, and gnome plants. Several other waterfalls are showcased along the trail, including the impressive 58-foot Upper Lewis River Falls, the cascading Middle Lewis River Falls, and the 32-foot Lower Copper Creek Falls drop. All of the cascades are known as prime nature photography opportunities and popular picnic sites. Hikers are welcome to bring well-behaved dogs on the trail on leashes.
Cougar, WA 98616, Phone: 509-395-3400
5.Birth of a Lake Trail
Birth of a Lake Trail is a half-mile interpretive trail at the beautiful Coldwater Lake recreational area detailing the creation of the lake following the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The brief trail is one of the National Volcanic Monument's best spots for accessible hiking, offering several ADA-accessible boardwalks and easy paths for wheelchair and stroller navigation. Interpretive displays along the trail explain how the lake was formed by the damming of nearby Coldwater Creek after the eruption changed the area's terrain. Along the way, hikers can enjoy some of the best panoramic views of the lake's terrain, including vista overlooks highlighting framing by the nearby mountains. Picnic tables, public restrooms, and ample parking are provided for all recreational area guests.
ZiplineX is Washington State's most popular ziplining tour adventure company, offering one of the most unique ways to explore the stunning natural sights of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The Amboy-based touring company is home to eight aerial bridges, including the United States' highest year-round bungee jumping bridge. Tours launch several times throughout the day, available for groups of up to 10 participants at a time. Eight zipline areas are showcased along the tour, along with obstacles such as ladders and a spiral staircase. Zipline cross regional natural landmarks such as Canyon Creek, soaring more than 300 feet above the surrounding forest treetops. Private tour launch times are available for groups of more than five participants with advance reservation.
PO Box 121 Fairview, OR 97024, Phone: 503-520-0303
7.Trail of Two Forests
Trail of Two Forests is a lovely half-mile roundtrip loop trail exploring the gorgeous old-growth forest areas near Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The moderately easy trail, which is ADA accessible throughout its entire course, traverses throughout a stunning old-growth western red cedar and Douglas fir forested area which still thrives today. A second forest area, the Lava Cast Forest, preserves the remains of a young forest which was engulfed by lava flows from Mount St. Helens more than 2,000 years ago. Three-dimensional tree imprints, known as lava casts, are still visible within the former forest area. Several boardwalk areas provide unique vantage points, including a boardwalk ladder that descends eight feet into a lava cast mold for an up-close perspective.
9945 Virginia 122, Cougar, WA 98616
8.North Clark Historical Museum
© Aris Suwanmalee/stock.adobe.com
North Clark Historical Museum is a lovely historical museum in Amboy, showcasing the cultural and social history of the Lewis River Basin area. The museum is housed within the historic landmark 1910 Amboy United Brethren Church, which was disbanded in 1964 and was purchased by the North Clark Historical Museum nonprofit organization in 1988. Today, visitors can explore the museum for free each Saturday afternoon and view exhibits connected to the region's indigenous culture, pioneer heritage, and logging industry. Artifacts on display include a preserved kerosene lantern from the 19th-century Mascot sternwheeler, which traversed the Lewis River and served as a major source of transportation to Portland for nearby towns such as LaCenter and Woodland.
21416 NE 399th St, Amboy, WA 98601, Phone: 360-247-5800
8 Best Things to Do in Amboy, WA