Windy Ridge Viewpoint is a highlight of the remote eastside entrance to Mt St Helens. Here visitors get a palpable, if eerie, sense of the destruction wrought by the 1980 blast, with felled forests, desolate mountain slopes and the surreal sight of tree-clogged Spirit Lake, once one of the premier resorts in the South Cascades. There are toilets and a snack bar at the parking lot. Forest Pass available online or from ranger stations.
Steps ascend the hillside for close-up views of the crater. A few miles down the road you can descend 600ft on the 1-mile-long Harmony Trail (hike 224) to Spirit Lake.