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Adventure in northwest Washington’s volcanic landscape.

September 10, 2012

This park has seen impressive regrowth since the 1980 eruption, but it’s still full of eerie landscapes and volcanic remnants. It also has one of the largest concentrations of caves in the northwest, most notably, the two-mile-long Ape Cave, which is the longest continuous lava tube in the country. It’s open year round, with guided cave walks during the summer, but a pass is required after December 15; for $5, you can rent a lantern or simply bring your own.

Mount St. Helens Visitor Center

This park has seen impressive regrowth since the 1980 eruption, but it’s still full of eerie landscapes and volcanic remnants. Stop at the Castle Rock Visitor Center for hiking information. Strap on your headlamp for the two-mile hike through Ape Cave, the longest continuous lava tube in the Western Hemisphere.

Beaches Restaurant & Bar

Raucous on the weekends (and most weeknights as well) this popular eatery overlooking the Columbia River serves upscale comfort food with a view. On clear evenings, look for the lights of Portland eight miles to the south. Coveted for its location, Beaches features a wall of plate-glass windows overlooking the Columbia River and patio seating riverside during the warmer months. Pizza, pasta, and seafood dominate the menu, along with a mother lode of dessert offerings and a hopping full bar. High ceilings amplify the often-festive noise level in a dining area enlivened by rotating motorcycles and an open-flame wood-burning stove.

Blue Heron Inn

The comfortable B&B makes up for its simplicity with views of Silver Lake and Mount St. Helens.

Hilton Vancouver Washington

Uptown amenities converge with small-town views at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, located on the banks of the Columbia River. Completed in 2005, the hotel occupies a lush riverside location eight miles north of Portland, OR, in the historic town of Vancouver, WA. Two walking trails within blocks of the hotel wind through the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and past the shops and eateries of Vancouver's engaging downtown. The Hilton Vancouver hosts all the amenites expected in a full-service hotel: an indoor pool and fitness center, on-site restaurant, and 30,000-square-foot conference center. 

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