If you're an experienced hiker in good physical condition, the climb to the summit of Mount St. Helens is a must. From the trailhead on the south side of the mountain, the hike takes 8 to 10 hours and can require an ice ax. Climbing permits, which cost $22 between April and October and are free other months, are required and are only available online (www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/mshnvm). Because the climb is very popular, you'll need to make a reservation. Reservations are taken beginning on February 1, and summer weekends book up fast. Between November 1 and March 31, no reservation is necessary -- but expect lots of snow. Due to volcanic activity in recent years, the rim is sometimes closed to hikers, so check the current status before planning this climb.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.