Event Summary

At 8:32 Sunday morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted in the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. 230 square miles of forest were scorched or blown down. That great catastrophic event not only shocked the world because of its explosive power, but shook the very foundation of evolutionary theory. Mount St. Helens has provided a massive natural laboratory for the understanding of catastrophic geologic processes, and what we are learning only serves to bolster the validity of the Biblical creation account.

Join Mount St Helens Creation Museum Director Bill Hoesch as he leads us up the Toutle River Canyon recounting the events of the eruptions from the 1980s and 90s. You will spend the day gaining a biblical understanding of creation evidences that appear worldwide but are in high relief at St. Helens. You will also share the joy of sweet fellowship with your co-adventurers as we spend the day walking and talking. It’s going to be great!

The adventure is appropriate for all ages. We convoy in our own vehicles. Each tour consists of several stops along the way, a picnic, and a short optional hike.

What to Expect

Tour Details

  • 8:45am—Meet at the Mount St. Helens Creation Center, 147 Front Ave NW, Castle Rock, WA (360) 274-5737)
  • We will have a brief orientation lecture in the Center’s Theater.
  • Harry Gardner Park to see material left by the lahars (mudflows).
  • The Forest Learning Center to view material deposited by the landslide. See the museum and peruse the gift shop.
  • Castle Lake Vista Point will provide an amazing view of the landscape that tells the bigger story of the eruption.
  • Cold Water Lake for a peaceful picnic lunch. Then a very short hike to hear more stories about the eruption and the amazing recovery.
  • Hummocks Trail for a two-mile hike to investigate hummocks, ponds, plants, a canyon carved by the eruptions.
  • Johnston Ridge Observatory provides an amazing view of the crater and canyon systems. There is also a theater, small museum, and gift shop. The tour will end here at 5:00pm.

What You’ll Need

  • National Forest Day Pass ($6 unless you already own a different type of Nat’l Park Pass)
  • Release forms for everyone—we will have them at the orientation.
  • Full tank of gas since gas is scarce on the mountain.
  • A picnic lunch*
  • Proper footwear, water, sunblock, anything for a 2-hour hike.
  • The US Forest Service does not allow pets!

* The Cascade Market in Castle Rock has wonderful sandwiches and other deli items. You can call the day ahead to place your order so it is available to pick up the morning of the tour. Make sure to tell them the Mount St. Helens Creation Center sent you! Their number is (360) 274-4143.

Ticket Pricing

Child (0-4):FREE
  • Our cancellation policy is simple and reasonable, not punitive. You only pay loss suffered by Landmark Events as a result of your cancellation, no penalty or “service charges”. If the tour is not fully booked at the time you cancel, we will refund your full registration less any nonrefundable payments we made to hotels, coaches, etc. on your behalf. We will gladly issue full refunds for spaces that are re-booked, regardless of the time of cancellation.
  • We recommend you consider travel insurance which can cover losses due to illness, flight cancellations, and lost luggage. InsureMyTrip is a good place to start when researching travel insurance.

Event Highlights

Expert-led tours on the mountain – both of the following tours are included in registration. Please note – you will need your own vehicle and bag lunch. These are remote areas with spotty cell service.


Spirit Lake Hike

Spirit Lake

This day trip will provide a good introduction to Mount St. Helens. The highlight will be a 2.5-mile (round trip) hike on the Harmony Trail to Spirit Lake and the floating log mat. In addition, we will visit an old growth forest, historic Bear Meadow, Meta Lake, and Windy Ridge. Teaching will be based on a biblical creation worldview.  Please note that moderate physical fitness is required as we will be hiking a total of about three miles and there will be a 600-foot uphill climb coming out from Spirit Lake.

Watch the Spirit Lake log mat in motion!

Johnson Ridge Excursion

West Side

Stops include:

  • Mount St. Helens Creation Center
  • Harry Gardner Park
  • Forest Learning Center
  • Castle Lake Viewpoint
  • Hummocks Trailhead
    The 2.3-mile hike starts here (about 2 hours). The purpose is to see first-hand evidence of biological recovery following the eruption. We will be looking at how plants like prairie lupines and red alders led the recovery, and how both plants’ life cycles cannot be explained by evolution.
  • Johnston Ridge Observatory (milepost 52)
    Optional 1-hour hike along the boundary trail, where you will see (with binoculars) into the canyon, where the sedimentary layers are quite clear. The excursion ends at Johnston Ridge, after which guests make their own way down the valley, when you may wish to stop at other centers. If you wish to go into the Observatory, or use the trails, please note that there is a charge of $8 per adult (children 15 and younger free), payable inside the Observatory. The Observatory honors Golden Cards and Inter-Agency Passes.

Event Speakers

Dr. Tim Clarey

Dr. Tim Clarey

Dr. Tim Clarey received a Master of Science in Geology in 1984 from the University of Wyoming. He earned a Master of Science in Hydrogeology in 1993 and a Ph.D. in Geology in 1996 from Western Michigan University. For nearly a decade, Dr. Clarey worked as an exploration geologist at Chevron USA, Inc., developing oil drilling prospects and analyzing assets and lease purchases. He was Full Professor and Geosciences Chair at Delta College in Michigan for 17 years before leaving to join the science staff at the Institute for Creation Research in 2013. As Research Associate, he’s studying sedimentary rocks across the globe to find further evidence for the Genesis Flood. Dr. Clarey has published two college laboratory books and many papers on various aspects of the Rocky Mountains. He is the author of Dinosaurs: Marvels of God’s Design and a contributor to Guide to Dinosaurs.

Pat Roy

Pat Roy

Pat Roy is the co-founder of Creation Quest along with his wife, Sandy and two kids Summer, and Melody. Pat spent 12 years as the radio producer for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). He began at ICR when Ken Ham was in charge of the radio department. When Ken left, Pat became the Director of Broadcast media. During that time he and his wife, Sandy, created Jonathan Park, a kid’s radio drama which put all that Pat had learned and continued to learn about six-literal-day creation into a format kids could understand and enjoy. From there, Pat and Sandy created Creation Quest, an organization committed to sharing the Gospel and giving families a Biblical and scientific case for Genesis 1.

Dr. Keith Swenson

Dr. Keith Swenson

Dr. Keith Swenson is a retired medical doctor who now teaches courses in biology and geology at Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon. He also served for twenty years as President of Portland’s Design Science Association and was on the board of the Seven Wonders Museum near Mount St. Helens. Keith especially enjoys leading field trips and has taken thousands to Mount St. Helens, the Columbia Gorge, Northwest forests and the Grand Canyon. He co-leads, with Dr. Steve Austin, periodic trips into the “Little Grand Canyon” at Mount St. Helens. He and his wife, Connie, have four grown children.

Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor

Paul and his wife Geri have been the directors of the Mount St. Helens Creation Center since October 1, 2014. Paul has been speaking on creation and apologetics, and against evolution, for over 35 years. He taught science in public (government) schools in the UK for nearly 20 years. He has worked with ministries such as Answers in Genesis and Creation Today, and has spoken in Britain, Ireland, Europe and across the United States, in churches and at conferences. He has authored nine books including The Six Days of Genesis, Itching Ears, and Don’t Miss the Boat.

Event Schedule

Monday, August 19

Summit St. Helens:  This is an opportunity prior to the conference to scale the summit of St. Helens. Permits are required and participants must be physically fit.  If you are interested, we can provide contact information.  This is facilitated by a local group that is not affiliated with Landmark Events.

Tuesday, August 20

12:00pmRegistration opens
2:00pmWelcome: Orientation and Overview
2:45pm  Mount St Helens – A Message for Today –  Paul Taylor
4:15pm  The Catastrophic Geology of MSH – Dr. Tim Clarey 
5:30pmDinner Break
7:00pm  Biological Recovery at MSH – Part 1  Dr. Keith Swenson
8:00pm The Journey to Novarupta – Pat Roy

Wednesday, August 21

7:00pm*Mountain Tours Return
* Return times will be vary.

Thursday, August 22

7:00pm*Mountain Tours Return
* Return times will be vary.

Friday, August 23

8:30am Biological Recovery at MSH 2 — Dr. Keith Swenson
9:45amDarwin’s Big Lie — Paul Taylor
11:00am Young Earth/Recent Flood Evidence — Dr. Tim Clarey
12:00pmLunch Break
1:30pm Exploring Creation: The Spirit of Adventure — Pat Roy
2:30pmOnly Believe — Paul Taylor
4:00pm Volcano judging and eruptions
6:00pm Dinner Break & Fellowship
7:00pm Quiz, Panel Discussion, Q&A

Saturday, August 24

Saturday, August 24 (optional):Additional excursion with Paul Taylor (not included in registration). Contact Paul Taylor at Mt. St Helens Creation Museum for details and scheduling at (360) 274-5737 or info@mshcreationcenter.org.

This will take in viewpoints on the South of the volcano: June Lake and waterfall (including 0.5-mile walk), Lahar Viewpoint, Lava Canyon (including 1.3-mile walk, with canyon suspension bridge), the Trail of Two Forests (short 0.3-mile stroll, plus picnic area for lunch), and the entrance to the Ape Cave.


We have selected the Red Lion Hotel in Kelso, WA to host our event. Clean and comfortable, this recently renovated hotel is the ideal spot to meet together, as well as the base from which to launch our tours of the mountain and other local attractions.
There is a block of rooms set up under the name Landmark Events for August 19-23. Nightly rates are $92 + tax. There are also spacious parlor suites and executive suites for $135.00 + tax. Each of these has an additional connecting bedroom that is $92 per night. Call the hotel directly at 360-636-4400 ext. 0 for the front desk to make reservations.

Other Travel Information

Nearest Airport: Portland International (PDX)

Transportation: It would be best to rent a car if you fly in as Kelso is about an hour north of Portland Airport. You will need your own car for the mountain tours.

Suggestions on what to bring: We would recommend that you consider bringing a hat, journal, camera, umbrella, and comfortable trail walking shoes or boots as we will walk a lot

2019 Lecture Topics

Mount St. Helens: A Message for Today
Paul Taylor

How the Catastrophic events of 1980 are best understood in the context of the biblical worldwide flood.

Biological Recovery at Mount St. Helens
Keith Swenson

A look into the resilience of the creation, and some comparisons to what must have occurred following the great flood described in the Bible.

The Catastrophic Geology of Mount St. Helens
Dr. Tim Clarey

From rapidly formed stratification to upright deposited logs, Mount St. Helens to serve as a miniature laboratory for catastrophism.

Darwin’s Big Lie
Paul Taylor

An introduction to the life of Charles Darwin, examining his youth, and the influences that made him the man he was, and molded his opinions.

The Journey to Novarupta
Pat Roy

A trip to remote Alaskan wilderness to document the overwhelming evidence for creation, the worldwide flood, an ice age, and the forces of catastrophism.

Only Believe
Paul Taylor

A biblically based foundation for defending the Faith.

Evidence of a Young Earth / Recent Flood
Dr. Tim Clarey

Strong geological evidences demonstrate that Earth is just thousands of years old, as the biblical narrative and genealogies indicate.

Exploring Creation: The Spirit of Adventure
Pat Roy

Proverbs 25:2 provides encouragement to “seek out” an understanding of our world.

The Truth of a Global Flood
Dr. Tim Clarey

Extremely widespread geological strata and their contained marine fossils provide critical evidence that the ocean once completely covered the continents.


Panel discussion and Q&A session.

Upcoming Events

Northumbria Tour
July 8-17, 2024

Grand Canyon Adventure
August 28 – September 2, 2024