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.  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.

The Science and Learning Center is the base for Mount St. Helens Institute's Volcano Outdoor School program!

Rent the Science and Learning Center

The building has multiple conference rooms available for day use, numerous educational opportunities and programs as well as overnight accommodations.  All of the spaces pictured below are available to groups renting the Science and Learning Center, including access to kitchen appliances and other reusable foodservice supplies. 

  • Overnight Rental

    • Rental Cost: $1600/night
    • Meal add-on Cost: $10/person/meal. Review a sample menu of meals provided. 
    • Education add-on Cost: $12/person/hour (1 teacher/group leader free) More information about Volcano Outdoor School
    • Hours: 4 PM - 10 AM next day
    • Education Programs: Schools in Washington State bringing 5th and 6th grade students may be eligible for rental and meal reimbursement through Washington State Funding for Overnight Outdoor SchoolVolcano Outdoor School program fees may also be eligible for reimbursement through this program. 
    • Day rental use: Overnight rental groups are responsible for paying the day rental fee for times that they wish to use the facility outside of the overnight rental hours listed above. 
    • Indoor air quality: Our group sleeping areas and restrooms in the Science and Learning Center are equipped with air purifiers that (at their maximum settings) will filter the air every 12.5 minutes. These air purifiers are on wheels and can be easily moved around to meet program needs. 
  • Day Rental

    • Rental Cost: $600/day
    • Meal add-on Cost: $10/person/meal. Review a sample menu of meals provided.
    • Hours: 10 AM - 4 PM

Rent Coldwater Camp

  • 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.
  • Coldwater Camp includes ~30 campsites/tent pads.
  • 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.
  • Camp stoves and other cookware are NOT provided. Propane and white gas stoves are acceptable for guests to bring and use on the campground picnic tables or in the parking lot. 
  • Campfires are NOT permitted.
  • A vault restroom and/or a Port-a-Potty will be available. 
  • Rental Cost: $600/night
  • Hours: 4 PM - 10 AM next day

Rental Host

A host will be either on the premises or nearby & on-call during your rental period to answer any questions you may have.  Upon your arrival, your host will check you in and take you on a tour of the facility, which will include information about safety gear and protocols, instruction on how to use the equipment in the facility, cleaning protocols and more. 


Registration for 2022 Science and Learning Center and Coldwater Camp rentals will open late January 2022.  You may complete this non-binding INQUIRY FORM at any time.  After you complete the form, Mount St. Helens Institute staff will reach out to you with more information and to answer questions.

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


  1. Groups are responsible for cleaning the areas that they use.  Cleaning supplies will be provided. 
  2. You can review all other policies HERE.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please email