Coldwater Peak, Harry's Ridge & Pumice Plain


Day Hike - Harry's Ridge

Experience the wonders of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument by hiking to where we have spectacular views of Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake, weather permitting, with time to tour the fascinating Johnston Ridge Observatory after the hike.

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 8.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 970 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 4,752 ft
  • Pace: 2.5

Meet at 10 AM at the entrance to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, at the east end of SR 505, reached by taking Exit 63 eastbound (through Toledo) from I-5, turning left onto SR 504 at the T junction and continuing to the end of the highway.  Plan on arriving at the parking lot by 9:45 AM, because there is a short walk from there to the Johnston Ridge Observatory and we need to be prepared to hike when we arrive there.

We will check in at the Johnston Ridge Observatory when it opens at 10 AM and will need to show one National Park Pass or Northwest Forest Pass for every four people in order to obtain wrist bands for everyone that entitle us to hike on our trail.  No pass need be displayed on the cars in the parking lot.  Any person not covered by a pass will need to pay $8 to obtain their wrist band.  We will hike from the Johnston Ridge Observatory directly onto our hike, with no return to the cars until after the hike is completed, so it will be important for everyone to arrive at the Observatory entrance prepared to hike.  We will need to defer exploring the Observatory until after the hike, when we will have ample time to view the exhibits, watch movies and slide shows and listen to Ranger talks.  Our hiking route will be almost entirely exposed to the weather, which means you need to be prepared for heat, cold, wind and sun, because any of those could occur.  Last year's hike at this time was mainly troubled by 80 degree temperatures, which required three liters of water to maintain adequate hydration throughout the hike.  Anyone without at least two liters of water, or other hydration, will not be permitted to participate in the hike.  After we complete the hike, we will stop at the parking lot to drop off our gear in the cars, and then walk back to the Observatory to explore the exhibits and presentations.  We may be leaving there as late as 5 PM (it closes at 6 PM), so we will have an optional dinner stop on the drive home at the Fire Mountain Grill, 9440 Spirit Lake Hwy, which got good reviews from those stopping there after a hike in this area last year.  If you sign up for this hike, plan to arrive home late in the evening. 


Coldwater Peak, Harry's Ridge & Pumice Plain

  • Green Trails Mount St Helens NVM No. 332S

    Green Trails Spirit Lake No. 332

    Green Trails Mt St Helens No. 364
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun protection
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination
  5. First aid supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair kit and tools, including knife
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter
Trip Reports