Bring all the equipment otherwise required for hiking or camping in a mountainous area with rapidly changing weather when visiting Mount St. Helens. It is also necessary to have a special hiking permit that allows climbing above 4,800 feet. These permits are required throughout the year and are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
Everyone who plans to climb Mount St. Helens to the crater must have a hiking permit issued by the Mount St. Helens Institute. Permits are purchased through an online vendor for a small fee. They must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance and are available at the Lone Fir Resort prior to beginning the hike. Hikers need to bring the emailed confirmation of permit purchase to the resort at the time of pick up.
While there are campgrounds within the Mount St. Helens National Monument, there are no hotels or other indoor accommodations, so visitors who intend to stay longer than one day should bring tents, sleeping bags and other camping equipment. It's advisable to wear comfortable clothing for hiking, appropriate shoes and to carry plenty of water. Most hiking trails around the area are not particularly long or challenging even for beginning hikers, so sophisticated hiking or climbing equipment is not required.