The Science and Learning Center at Coldwater is a hands-on education center located seven miles from the crater of Mount St. Helens.  The Science and Learning Center at Coldwater offers spectacular views and immersion into the volcanic landscape and world just outside in the heart of the blast zone. 

The Science and Learning Center is located at milepost 43 on State Highway 504, approximately 10 miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory.  The building has multiple conference rooms available for day use, numerous educational opportunities and programs as well as overnight accommodations.  In 2021, only outdoor lodging is available.  Near the Science and Learning Center is:

  • The Winds of Change Trail with a 1/4 mile paved loop offering views of the Toutle Valley.
  • The Elk Bench Trail connecting with the Lakes Trail, providing stunning views of Coldwater Lake and frequent elk sightings along the way.
  • A campground with stunning views of Mount St. Helens and Coldwater Lake that is available for group rentals.

Click HERE to view a map of the Science and Learning Center and vicinity.


Groups may sleep at Coldwater Camp for overnight rentals of the Science and Learning Center.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sleeping inside the Science and Learning Center is not currently available. 

  • The nearby Coldwater Camp is a five-minute walk from the Center. Field camp offers spectacular views of Mount St. Helens, Coldwater Lake, and the Mount Margaret back-country..
  • There are several picnic tables at the site and vault toilets in the parking lot.
  • The site has NO running water.
  • Cars are not permitted in this area and groups will need to carry their supplies in about 1/4 mile.
  • Camping gear is not provided.

Register Your Group

To begin registration, complete this non-binding INQUIRY FORM.  After you complete the form, Mount St. Helens Institute staff will reach out to you.

A list of available dates is HERE.  Please note that these dates are subject to group size and staff availability.


  • Overnight lodging (sleeping at Coldwater Camp): $150/night host fee + $15/person/night (minimum of 15 people)
  • Science and Learning Center day use room rental: $50/day host fee + $50/hour/room (for education/youth-serving groups) or $75/hour/room (for all other groups)
  • Kitchen use: $100/night.  Not currently available for day programs.  Meals not currently available.
  • 30-minute lecture: $50/lecture
  • Volcano Outdoor School (hands-on education): $8/person/hour


  1. You can review COVID-19 policies, cancellation policies, and participation policies HERE.
  2. In addition to the program policies linked above, groups renting the Science and Learning Center will be expected to write an Safety Plan, which needs to be approved by Mount St. Helens Institute prior to registration.  You can review the guidelines HERE.
  3. In addition to the above, groups are expected to comply with the COVID safety guidance for youth education and Science and Learning Center rentals HERE.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please email