Lost in the Volcanic Holocaust, Spirit Lake Lodge (seen to the right in 1949 and below in 1965) has been confused by the press and USFS to have been owned and operated by Harry Truman, the man who stayed and was lost in the eruption. Harry owned and operated the Mount St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake.
Originally part of the Gustophson family settlement dating back to the early 1900's, the Spirit Lake Lodge was purchased in the early 1970's by David P. and Mariam E. Smith. They placed their oldest son, Robert, as manager of the lodge. Rob was a child of the times with long black hair and a love for nature and the great outdoors. His story was unique, moving to a remote lodge on a dead-end road with no electrical power or telephone for 20-miles. He was joined by his younger sister Beverly for a time and she also lived at the lodge. Linda (Smith) King, the oldest of the Smith children, also played a role at the mountain. She and her husband Ray King built a cabin on a lot across from the lodge.
After over a decade of silence, the Smith family started again in 1992 with Mount St. Helens Tours, Inc., a company dedicated to providing adventures inside the blast zone. David and Mariam Smith teamed up with their youngest son Mark this time. Dave was retiring and had planned to drive one of the two tour vans they purchased, but his life was cut short by cancer and he left the company to Mark.
Today, in memory of their father and in dedication to his family, the Smiths have returned to the mountain.
It started in 1992 as a small tour company providing Adventure Tours into the Blast Zone. In 1993 they introduced the world's first "Tent & Breakfast" providing the only overnight accommodations inside the Blast Zone.
In 1996 they teamed up with a Texas business partner named W.C. Gahan, better known as Carl. Together they build ECO PARK, a 90-acre park with log cabins, yurts, wall tents and campsites designed with a soft footprint to the environment. ECO PARK provides the closest accommodations to the mountain along the Spirit Lake Highway, Washington SR 504.
They have also brought back the dream of cabin ownership on the mountain by developing Mount St. Helens Retreats. People can once again own a five-acre piece of the rock-Mount St. Helens.
In 1997 Mark met and married the woman of his dreams and now he and Dawn (photo to the right) share every aspect of the business.
1999 brought two unique additions to Mount St. Helens tours: our Goods From the Woods Store providing unique crafts created from wood, antlers and hides by local artists, and the Backwoods Cafe, complete with our renown Logger Dinner Showa special dining experience featuring local Logger talent that is full of history, poetry, stories and songs. (We are no longer offering the Logger Dinner Show.)
We are dedicated to providing a unique Northwest experience for all our guests. Come see and experience Mount St. Helens for yourself and create your own memories of the mountains.
Backcountry Horsemen of Washington State
We’ve been going down to Castle Rock for several years competing in Field Trials with our dogs. We’ve made several trips up the mountain since it blew bringing friends and guests from as far away as San Diego and Nevada.
Our Friends Vickie and John said that they had never been there and how cool would it be to do a horse back trip down there for a few days vacation. We searched the internet and found Eco-Park Resort. And I must say that I’m glad that we did.