South Coldwater Ridge


Backpack - South Coldwater Ridge

Challenging trip for experienced and very fit backpackers in the beautiful northeast corner of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 21.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 8,000 ft
  • Pace: 2mph+

Trip will start and finish at the South Coldwater trailhead. 3 hours approx. drive time from Seattle to South Coldwater trailhead:  


  • Friday, October 16: hike 3.5 miles to Ridge Camp from South Coldwater trailhead; this campsite could be dry so bring extra water for the night.
  • Saturday, October 17: hike to Shovel Camp. About 6 miles from Ridge Camp. 
  • Sunday, October 18: hike out to the South Coldwater trailhead. About 10 miles from Shovel Camp to trailhead.


Please don't ask for permission to register before Sept. 15, 2020.

This is an extremely difficult trip and you'll need to be in excellent shape and have a history of recent trips of comparable difficulty. Please list those trips you've done in your request to join this trip. There is the possibility of snow falling before/during this trip.

This trip requires a special permit, which we have already obtained. The permit only allows 4 people to camp at designated sites listed on our permit. You'll be expected to pay for your share of the permit if this trip is held.
We can't increase the number of people on this trip because the permit limits us to 4 people max.

Forecast of bad weather will probably result in trip cancellation.


South Coldwater Ridge

  • Green Trails Spirit Lake No. 332

    Green Trails Mount St Helens NVM No. 332S

    Trails Illustrated Mt Saint. Helens/Mount Adams
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Bear canister is required in this area- don't plan on hanging your food/aromatic items!
  • Tent suitable for autumn and colder temps/wet weather
  • Food, snacks for the weekend
  • Cold weather and wet weather clothing
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water purification method 
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports