How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am?

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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kirsty
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How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am?

Post by kirsty » June 20th, 2017, 11:46 am

Hi there!

Looking to get an early start hiking Coldwater Peak, starting from Johnston Ridge Observatory.

As I understand it, there is an $8 fee per person to park at this trailhead/visitor center.

But the visitor center does not open until 10am. How do people parking to hike before 10am pay? Is there an automated fee machine in the car park?

I've also heard a NW Forest Annual Pass can be used there, but I've no idea if this is true. I've also, also heard that your $8 buys you a physical wristband that must be worn on the trails. Is this true also?

Sorry for all the questions. The government website is, in typical bureaucratic fashion, "monumentally" (wamp wamp!) useless at answering a single one of these questions.

Thanks!!

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BigBear
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Re: How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am

Post by BigBear » June 20th, 2017, 11:56 am

The NW Forest Pass covers your parking and your entrance fee to go inside the "museum" building. It is not a $8/person fee to park.

Get there when you can, put your pass on the dashboard and go hiking.

If it's a hot day, the $4.50/24-ounce cold Pepsi from the parking lot vendor is worth it.

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adamschneider
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Re: How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am

Post by adamschneider » June 20th, 2017, 11:58 am

Your NW Forest Pass allows you to park there; the $8 fee applies to the visitor center and the trails in the immediate vicinity. And yes, they do wristbands, but I don't know how carefully they enforce them, especially for people coming in from the Boundary Trail and heading directly back to the parking lot; my guess is, not very strictly.

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kirsty
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Re: How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am

Post by kirsty » June 20th, 2017, 12:02 pm

@ Big Bear - On the Vistor Center information page, it states "It is a US Forest Service fee site and costs $8/adult", which is why I'm curious.

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kirsty
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Re: How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am

Post by kirsty » June 20th, 2017, 12:04 pm

@ adamschneider - This is what is so confusing to me - the Annual NW Forest Pass allows you to *park* in the car park, but not to see the visitor center, or hike any of the trails. What do they expect you to do if you park there with the Forest Pass? Just sit in your car and enjoy the beautiful cement floor of the car park all day?! I don't think I will ever get my head around the insanity of the eight million different hiking passes and their myriad of restrictions required over here.

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kirsty
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Re: How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am

Post by kirsty » June 20th, 2017, 12:05 pm

PS - I'll bear the five dollar Pepsi in mind!

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adamschneider
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Re: How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am

Post by adamschneider » June 20th, 2017, 12:34 pm

kirsty wrote:@ adamschneider - This is what is so confusing to me - the Annual NW Forest Pass allows you to *park* in the car park, but not to see the visitor center, or hike any of the trails. What do they expect you to do if you park there with the Forest Pass?
I know, it's weird. But like I said, I don't think they bust people heading out east or west on the Boundary Trail. Just stay off the interpretive "Eruption Trail" that goes up the hill east of the building.

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Peder
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Re: How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am

Post by Peder » June 20th, 2017, 5:02 pm

There is (in my opinion) no need for a pass in the JRO Lot - you just need to buy a pass to enter the JRO Visit Center. At the JRO a NW Forest Pass will get you one entrance and a NP Pass five entrances. As part of their fund raising efforts, they try to ensure that everybody on the trails is wearing an armband showing that they paid. Just drive to the furthest end of the lot and start hiking by the large information board. It is one of the best hikes around; if all the snow has not yet melted below the peak you may have to stop a little after the Arch Saddle. Enjoy!

Edit: I have never been troubled for not wearing an armband...
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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bobcat
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Re: How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am

Post by bobcat » June 20th, 2017, 5:17 pm

What Peder said . . .

You don't need a Forest Pass to park. They do want you to pay at the Visitor Center, or use a NWFP in lieu, to hike from there, but if you get there before they open, there's nothing you can do about that. I haven't purchased a pass there when I've just gone to hike because I always get there before 10 a.m. However, I have taken my Forest Pass with me on a hike just in case someone asks later in the day. I've only met a ranger once out on the trails, and she didn't ask to check anything.

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Chip Down
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Re: How to pay fee at Johnston Ridge Observatory BEFORE 10am

Post by Chip Down » June 20th, 2017, 8:18 pm

Here's the strategy I've always used:
Park wherever I want, whenever I want.
Hike wherever I want, whenever I want.
Exception: the one time I went to the crater rim on the standard route, I did it in November, when things are a bit more relaxed.

I've never been cited, and have never had an encounter with a Ranger or similar.

Of course, YMMV. And, of course, I'm not advocating lawlessness. Just saying what has worked for me.

In the interest of complete disclosure, I should acknowledge I haven't been there in years, and so my experience might not reflect current practices and conditions.

edit: you guys know you can pack frosty beverages in a cooler in your trunk, right? ;)

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