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 destroyed by the blast and a sandy beach by Coldwater Lake, which was created by the eruption. The lake water there is usually warm enough for swimming during the summer, because of the low elevation of the lake. This is part of the August 1-2 Mt. St. Helens Car Camp. See the Tacoma Branch calendar for complete details.

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.
  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 9.7 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,525 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 a Northwest Forest Pass or National Park Pass.

We will use the nice restrooms by the boat launch parking lot, leave one car there to shuttle the drivers at the end of the hike, and then ride in the other cars the half mile to the South Coldwater Ridge trailhead, where there is no restroom.  There we begin hiking onto the ridge, continuing past logging equipment destroyed by the 1980 eruption to a viewpoint where we have lunch before descending to the north end of the lake,  In a short distance we come to a sandy beach along Coldwater Lake where we stop for a rest and a swim.  Then we continue around the lake to the boat launch parking lot.  The drivers get in the car left there to drive to the other trailhead to retrieve the cars left there.

On the drive home there will be an optional dinner stop at the Fire Mountain Grill, famous for its peach cobbler ala mode, among other menu items.

This is part of the August 1-2 Mt. St. Helens Car Camp.  See the Tacoma Branch calendar for complete details. 


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