Johnston Ridge - Mt. St. Helens Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Johnston Ridge - Mt. St. Helens


One of the greatest cycling climbs in Oregon.

Page Contributor(s): Stephern Jones, Olympia, WA, USA; Bruce Hamilton, LaQuinta, CA, USA

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary


Cycling Johnston Ridge

Ride 6 miles gaining 1,611’ at 5.1% average grade.

Mt. St. Helens in photo background.

The climb up the Spirit Lake Highway (State Route 504) to the Johnston Ridge Observatory in the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is a popular and worthy cycling objective.  

Climb summary by PJAMM’s Steve Jones, Olympia, WA.

The full ride (starts at the unincorporated hamlet of Kid Valley; 784 ft., no services; 33.7 miles + 6,285 vertical feet) and passes several visitor centers on its way to the Elk Rock viewpoint (3,863 ft. and a healthy climb in its own right) before descending to Coldwater Lake (2,490 ft.) and then ascending to the end of the road at the Johnston Ridge Observatory (4,314 ft., water and restrooms).  The road has moderate traffic during the summer tourist season, but the shoulder is wide and smooth.

Photo June 12, 2018

Mt. St. Helens in background due south.

Thank you Bruce Hamilton, La Quinta, CA

The road is closed in winter.  For current conditions and snow levels, check the Gifford Pinchot National Forest website (ttps:// or call the monument headquarters (360.449.7800).