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Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail

Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington

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Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail

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  • View looking back at Mount St. Helens.- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • Non-native red clover (Trifolium pratense).- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • Non-native common centaury (Centaurium erythraea).- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • Lupine (Lupinus).- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus).- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • Douglas's spiraea (Spiraea Douglasii).- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • Wildflowers along the way.- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • - Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • Non-native foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • - Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • - Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • - Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • View of Minnie Peak (5,610').- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • - Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • - Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • Field of bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • Red paintbrush (Castilleja).- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
  • View looking back at Mount St. Helens.- Coldwater Lake Hiking Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Constantly great views. Wildflowers in August.
Cons: 
5.2 miles to backcountry area (backpacking allowed).
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Region:
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
200.00 ft (60.96 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
10.40 mi (16.74 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,490.00 ft (758.95 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

There are actually hiking trails on both sides of this newly created natural reservoir called Coldwater Lake, and both are excellent starting points and trails to access the limited, but very worthy, backpacking areas in Mount St. Helens National Monument*.  This trip report, however, focuses on the rather long but level 10.4-mile, there-and-back day hike on the lake's northern shore.  In fact, when visiting the National Monument, the trip along the lake's northern shore, paired with the short Hummocks Loop across Washington Highway 504, make a great introduction to the area.  Hummocks, or ash and silt deposits, are what dammed Coldwater Creek and created the lake that exists today.

From the beginning, visitors along the trail will be rewarded by views of Mount St. Helens, and as you approach the northwestern end of the lake, the towering features of Minnie Peak (5,610 feet) and Coldwater Peak (5,740 feet) take center stage.  Hike the trail in late July or early August to see abundant wildflowers such as the boldly yellow bird's-foot trefoil, various white asters, fireweed and numerous varieties of field lupines, all of which characterize this trail.

* To preserve and study the natural re-inhabitation of Mount St. Helens' 1980 blast zone, there are very limited areas on the volcano's north side where backcountry camping is allowed.  Most of this area is on the north side of Coldwater Peak.  View our map for specifics regarding this designated overnight area.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(36 within a 30 mile radius)

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