Bring your class or youth group to explore the mountain by day and by night with the Mount St. Helens Institute’s Volcano Outdoor School. Come face-to-face with geologic forces and discover the amazing stories of plant and animal life in the heart of the Mount St. Helens blast zone.

“Wonderful! This is an experience the children will remember their ENTIRE lives. Lots of cool activities, beautiful environment, very nice facilities. Such a great time/place!” “The Volcano Outdoor School educators were phenomenal. They were energetic, patient, kind, and engaging. Thank you!” “Very hands-on, science based experience with a big dose of outdoor and team-based learning. Tons of fun. Great teachers. Great mix of theory and practice.”


Volcano Outdoor School Overnight Programs provide a unique, interdisciplinary, fully-immersive experience that supports Next Generation Science Standards.  

Throughout the program, students explore the world around them, using scientific tools, recording field observations, working in a team, sharing and discussing ideas, creating art, and reflecting on the environment and themselves. 

In our ecology programs, students investigate themes of disturbance, succession and renewal.  

In our geology programs, students investigate themes of scale, human connections to geologic processes, and interactions between earth systems.  

See an overview of Volcano Outdoor School Activities

  • Maximum group size: 30 youth, 6 adults
  • Student:Educator ratio: 15 students per 1 MSHI educator 
  • Duration: 1-night or 2-night
  • Times: Begins 2 PM arrival day, ends noon departure day
  • Cost: 
    • $145/person/night (Minimum: $2500/night)
    • 1 teacher/group leader free
    • INCLUDES: 3 meals + snacks throughout the program + lodging + 8 hours of educational activities led by Mount St. Helens Institute per night
    • New in 2022!  Schools in Washington State  bringing 5th and 6th grade students may be eligible for reimbursement through Washington State Funding for Overnight Outdoor School
    • Some financial assistance is available for low-income groups


Whether your class is able to be at Mount St. Helens for 1 hour or for 8 hours, Volcano Outdoor School day programs are a fantastic way to make the most out of a day experience with hands-on, experiential learning!  Mount St. Helens Institute education staff will work with you to create a schedule that aligns with your goals and your schedule needs.

See an overview of Volcano Outdoor School Activities

  • Maximum group size and student: educator ratio: Dependent on activities and staff availability 
  • Duration: 1-6 hours
  • Times: 10 AM - 4 PM
  • Cost: 
    • $12/person/hour (Minimum: $500/day)
    • 1 teacher/group leader free
    • Some financial assistance is available for low-income groups


Most Volcano Outdoor School programs are based at the Science and Learning Center and, in the heart of the 1980 eruption blast zone.  In the place where the 1980 eruption once scraped and scoured the land, students investigate the past and present geology and ecology at work.  Other locations, such as Ape Cave, Trail of Two Forests, and more, may be available on a case-by-case basis. 

“A must do for Washington kids. The history, the science, the event are all so relevant.” “Profound. unimaginably successful. A paradigm shifter for the classroom." “I heard voices that tend to be quiet in the classroom.”


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


You can review program policies HERE.  

Groups are required to provide chaperone support.


To begin registration, complete this non-binding INQUIRY FORM.  After you complete the form, Mount St. Helens Institute staff will reach out to you to provide more information and answer any questions that you have. 

You can also email learn@mshinstitute.org with any questions or for further information. 



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