South Coldwater Ridge


Day Hike - South Coldwater Ridge & Lakes Trail Loop

Experience the impact of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, visiting remnants of logging equipment and a sandy beach by a lake, both created by the eruption.

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 9.7 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,380 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 4,000 ft
  • Pace: 2.0 mph

Meet at 9:30 AM at the boat launch parking lot of Coldwater Lake on SR 504.  Each car parked there must display the Northwest Forest Pass or National Park Pass.

This day hike is part of the July 13-14 Mt. St. Helens Car Camp involving day hiking to Harry's Ridge on Saturday, camping at Seaquest State Park on Saturday night  and doing the South Coldwater Ridge loop hike on Sunday.   Anyone registering for this hike must also register for the July 13 Harry' Ridge hike and participate in the Saturday night car camp at Seaquest State Park.  Leader's permission is required to assure that that is done.  Campsite fees will be shared equally by all participants.

At the Coldwater Lake boat launch parking lot, we will leave half our cars and ride in the other cars to the nearby South Coldwater Ridge trailhead parking lot, where those cars must display the Northwest Forest Pass or National Park Pass.  We will hike from there onto South Coldwater Ridge, passing remnants of pre-eruption logging activities and having our trail lunch at a viewpoint atop the ridge.  Then we will descend to a sandy beach at the north end of Coldwater Lake for a rest break and a swim, before hiking along the west side of Coldwater Lake to the cars at the boat launch trailhead parking lot.  We will drive from there to the South Coldwater Ridge trailhead parking lot, so everyone can return to the cars they arrived in.   On the drive home we'll have an optional dinner stop at the popular Fire Mountain Grill Restaurant.  Restrooms are located at the boat launch parking lot and a  mile north of there on the  Coldwater Lake trail, but not elsewhere on the hiking route.  So bathroom breaks will be available as needed during the hike.  See the Tacoma Branch calendar for complete details of the car camp.   


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

  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