Explore Mount St. Helens

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Price per person (ages 10 and up). Museum general admission is not required or included.

10% early-bird discount through December 31, 2024.

Pricing & Registration
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness . . . the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. (Psalm 65:5–8)

Come Explore firsthand one of the most powerful events in the modern history of the United States—the eruption of Mount St. Helens. We have assembled a team of experienced guides and speakers to help us understand the eruption that occurred on May 18, 1980, and the geologic and environmental effects that followed. Answers in Genesis speakers (Dr. Tim Chaffey, Dr. Georgia Purdom, Dr. Jennifer Rivera, Dr. Dana Sneed, Dr. Danny Faulkner, Dr. Terry Mortenson, and Mr. P [Roger Patterson]) along with Dr. Steve Austin (geologist), Dr. Keith Swenson (forest ecologist), Bill Hoesch (Director of Mount St. Helens Creation Center), John Hergenrather, and Eric Hovind (Creation Today) will be our guides on four days of exciting adventures. They will help us look at the evidence that reveals rapid catastrophic power and how we might consider a powerful Creator and his purpose.

When: August 18–22, 2025 (45th anniversary year of the eruption)

Who: Anyone ages 10 and older who loves to hike and learn about God’s creation from a biblical worldview. Families are welcome, but the minimum age to attend is 10 years old, due to the challenging nature of the hikes.

Where: Mount St. Helens, Washington. The hikes in and around Mt. St. Helens, spread across four days, range from easy to strenuous. This experience is not recommended for individuals who cannot hike moderate terrain.

Recommended Lodging: Best Western (near Mt. St. Helens), 310 Long Avenue, Kelso, WA 98626-1114. Phone number: (360) 425-9660. There are readily available restaurants and grocery stores for your convenience.

Transportation: You are responsible for your own transportation. Each day you will be responsible for transportation to and from the assigned trailhead. Consolidating people in vehicles is helpful as parking will be limited at some of the stops.

Example Itinerary

Attendees will be assigned to a color group for the duration of the program. Each day, your color group will experience a different one of the four hikes. All hikes meet between 7:00–8:00 a.m. (hike dependent) in the lobby of the Best Western Hotel before traveling to the trailhead. Participants will return between 5:00–7:00 p.m. each evening (hike dependent).

**Itinerary (including all hikes) is subject to change based on weather and trail accessibility.

August 18–22, 2025
Monday Full-Day Conference

8:00 Check-in

8:30 Introduction by Dr. Jennifer Rivera

9:00 Dr. Terry Mortenson

10:30 Dr. Tim Chaffey

12:00 Lunch

1:30 Dr. Steve Austin (Overview of Mini Grand Canyon Hike)

1:45 Dr. Keith Swenson (Overview of Spirit Lake & Windy Ridge Hikes)

2:30 Bill Hoesch (Overview of Mount St. Helens Creation Center & Johnson Ridge Observatory )

3:00 John Herganrather (Overview Columbian Gorge, Bonneville Dam, and Hatchery)

3:15 Announcements (groups, schedule, etc.) by Dr. Jennifer Rivera

5:00 Dinner and rest

Tuesday–Friday Each day’s assigned hike will depend on your color group

Spirit Lake & Windy Ridge

4 miles round trip, Moderate

Duration: 7:00 a.m.– 7:00 p.m.

  • 1 hr. drive to check-in location; 2.5 hr. return drive from last hike location

Hiking time: 8:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.

Guide: Dr. Keith Swenson

*8:00 p.m. Astronomy event, weather permitting

Mount St. Helens Creation Center

Hummocks Trail

4 miles round trip, Easy

Duration: 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

  • 1 hr. 15 min. drive to check-in location
  • 1 hr. 15 min. return drive from hike location

Hiking time: 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Guide: Bill Hoesch

*8:00 p.m. Astronomy event, weather permitting

Columbian Gorge, Bonneville Dam, Hatchery

2 miles total, Moderate

Duration: 7:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

  • 1 hour drive to check-in location
  • 2 hour return drive from last hike location

Guides: John Herganrather and Steve Hayley

*8:00 p.m. Astronomy event, weather permitting

Loowit Trail

9 miles round trip, Strenuous

Please note that a high degree of physical fitness is required for this hike.

Duration: 6:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m.

  • 3 hr. drive to check-in location
  • 3 hr. return drive from hike location

Hiking Time: 8:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Optional unguided (on your own) Mt. Rainier visit if unable to hike Loowit Trail

Guide: Dr. Steve Austin

8:00 p.m. Concluding session

*Evening Bonus Sessions with Astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner (weather dependent)

Join us on a clear night to view the heavens with Answers in Genesis resident astronomer, Dr. Danny Faulkner.

Pricing & Registration

Cost: $1,699 per person (save 10% off this price with the early-bird discount through December 31, 2024)

Register Now

Registration Includes

  • One-day conference with lunch
  • Conference materials
  • Four full days of guided hiking with teaching
  • Evening star-gazing event with astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner (weather permitting)

Registration Does Not Include

  • Airfare
  • Travel insurance
  • Lodging
  • Rental car
  • Transportation to and from hike trailheads
  • Forest pass and tolls
  • Meals or snacks
  • Laundry during the program
  • Anything not listed in “Registration Includes”

What to Bring on Hike Days

  • Full tank of gas
  • Backpack
  • Electrolyte drinks
  • Salty snacks
  • Sack lunch
  • Sturdy, closed-toe hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain gear
  • Waste disposal bags and tissue
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Trekking poles
  • Sufficient water
  • For those hiking the strenuous nine-mile Mini Grand Canyon, a minimum of three liters of electrolyte drinks in a CamelBak are required at the trailhead or you will not be able to join the group.

Optional Activities to Enhance your Trip to Mt. St. Helens

  • Mt. St. Helens Ape Caves (requires reservation ticket through Recreation.gov)
  • Mt. Ranier
  • Fort Vancouver, Vancouver, WA
  • Fort Clatsop: First northwest settlement/Lewis and Clark winter lodging
  • Maritime Museum
  • Cape Disappointment: Lewis and Clark Museum
  • Long Beach, WA

Partnering with Answers in Genesis on this Excursion

Frequently Asked Questions

Will there by carpooling to the hike locations?
You are responsible for arranging travel each day to and from the hike trailheads. Consolidating people in vehicles is helpful as parking will be limited at some of the stops. Traveling together is also a great way to meet new friends.

I woke up late, can I join the group?
Our excursions will leave on time and will not be able to wait for latecomers.

Is there shuttle transportation from the airport?
No, there is no shuttle transportation from the airport.

My child is under 10 years of age and is an advanced hiker, would they be able to participate?
No, only individuals 10 years old and older may register for the experience.

Can I stay somewhere other than the Best Western?
Yes. We have reserved a block of rooms at the Best Western in Kelso, WA, but you are welcome to stay at another location in the area.

Is there a refund for inclement weather?
No, there are no refunds for weather-related cancellations of hikes.

Is there a discount for lifetime members?
No. Other than the early-bird discount for 2024, there are no discounts for this trip.

Can I choose which hikes I want to participate in?
Yes, you may select to not attend one of the hikes, but you are expected to inform your group leader of your absence.

Are the optional activities part of the trip?
No, these activities are recommendations and are not included in the cost of the trip, and no guides will be provided.

Are pets allowed on the hikes?
No, the US Forest Service does not allow any pets.

What is the cancellation policy?

  • No payment plan/no deposit—registrants should pay in full upon registration. There is a 10% discount for those registering during 2024.
  • Cancellations requested through May 25, 2025, will result in a full refund minus a $100 cancellation fee.
  • Cancellations requested May 25–June 25, 2025, will receive a 50% refund.
  • For cancellations June 26, 2025, and later, no refund will be issued.

When will I be given the details for each hike?
At the conference on the first day, each participant will be provided with a hike guide. The hike guide will contain details regarding directions to hikes, geographic information, contact information, color group assignment, and much more.

Can I decide the day of the Mini Grand Canyon Hike that I want to attempt the additional six-mile strenuous hike?
No, only a limited number of attendees are permitted on this hike due to government regulations. Pre-registration is required and must be selected during the registration process.

What are the requirements for the optional, strenuous nine-mile Loowit Trail?
You must be physically fit enough to hike steep elevations, carrying a minimum of three liters of water in a backpack. In addition to the three liters, you must be able to carry snacks, lunch, toiletries, rain gear, etc. This hike is a total of nine miles round trip from the trailhead. The trails cross creeks and may be unstable in places due to loose volcanic debris.