Flickr album link: McClellan Viewpoint
If you thought that the forests are thick along Highway 504 to the crest of Mount St Helens, then you have not experienced the deep wilderness southeast of his big volcano. Mt Adams is due east from the big disaster area and in between is the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which is so thick with growth that Mount St Helens can barely be seen. National Forest Road 25 runs due north along the east side of the volcano and for those who expect one majestic view after another, there will be some disappointment. Basically this touring route compares to driving through a tunnel of trees and there are very few places to take in the views of Mount St Helens, so this trip is more favorable for those who wish to experience the deep woods rain forest environment.
The Swift Reservoir is where NF Road 25 begins and a few miles east of this spot is where one of the few Mount St Helens overlooks can be found. The McClellan Viewpoint is located on Curly Creek Road on an opposing slope, so the big volcano crater can be seen clear as day. There is ample parking, picnic tables and basic facilities onsite, so this definitely is a good spot to take a break from the deep woods. The south side of Mount St Helens can be seen in its entirety from this spot that overlooks the forest canopy for many miles around. The McClellan Viewpoint certainly is a great place for landscape artists to setup shop and it is a good afternoon picnic spot, so be sure to chalk this overlook up when planning a Cascade Range volcano tour!
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