Boundary Trail to Coldwater Peak is a 11.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Toutle, Washington that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, rock climbing, and horses and is best used from May until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Length11.9 miElevation gain2,785 ftRoute typeOut & back
HikingHorseback ridingRock climbingLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeBlowdownRockySnowNo shadeNo dogs
Description
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Getting There

The first few miles of this hike snakes around the hills across from the crater on steep hillsides that were scoured by the 600mph blast. It's not until you reach the St. Helens Lake area (formed by the eruption) that more than splintered tree bases can be found. In the winter time, the area between St. Helens Lake and Coldwater Peak tends to be covered in snow.

Visitor Center, movie theater, ample parking.

Johnston Ridge Observatory 21500 Spirit Lake Highway Toutle, WA 98649. Phone: 360-274-2143

From Castle Rock, Washington (I-5 Exit 49) take Spirit Lake Highway (Hwy 504) 52 miles to the end at Johnstons' Ridge.

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Reviews (198)
Photos (718)
Recordings (145)
Completed (412)
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Kevin Gentry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 19, 2020
Hiking

Tough with snowshoes but doable!!

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Deanna Reiber
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Hiking
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Deanna Reiber
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Hiking
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Kurt S
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Hiking
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Deonne Knill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 28, 2020
HikingGreat!

Hiked this trail on 10/25. Got started about 0930. Cold and windy at the start and windy off and on throughout the ascent. Gorgeous. Well maintained trail. No litter! Good job fellow hikers! There was one mountain goat laying on the rocks right at the summit. One warning - the recent snow and then sunshine meant ice sheets on the rock faces. The early afternoon sun warmed the rocks and the ice would break off in huge pieces and roll down the hill. Once a piece about the size of a car tire rolled down so close and so fast we had to run back uphill to get out of the way. Be cautious and alert for changing conditions.

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Tom Nicholson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2020
Hiking

Outstanding hike, gets a bit long at the end. It can be a bit slippery at parts if there is ice/snow packed on the trail. Amazing views the whole way.

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Kyra Patel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 9, 2020
HikingGreat!

Completed 10/8/20 Drive/Parking: The drive is easy to the observatory parking lot and the lot is huge. Not busy on a weekday. Trail: well maintained and east to follow signage. Fully sun exposed although today was incredibly foggy. Most of the views were hidden until midday when the lower hanging fog started to clear. Ran into only two other people on the hike so I was the first one out at 9am and alone at the summit! The views are panoramic and spectacular. On a clear day you can see Mt. Saint Helens, Saint Helens Lake, Coldwater Lake, and Spirit Lake from the summit. Highly recommend this hike!

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Christina Markin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 7, 2020
HikingNo shadeOver grownRockyScramble

Attempted to do this hike solo on Monday 10/5/2020, but there was an exposed rocky, sketchy area (4.08 miles in via Johnston Ridge) I did not want to do solo and in the dark. Started the trail at 2:50am. There were no other vehicles in the lot. There are about 10 porta johns where the food cart used to be. Heard elk song from the parking area. There was low cloud coverage on the way in, making the last 20 miles slow going (road paved the whole way). I believe the only thing open in the Observatory is the gift shop. The hike is moderate with ups and downhills throughout the hike. Not handicap accessible and would not recommend for young children as the l 3 miles or so you are hiking on a ridge,, with steep drop offs. Saw no one on this portion of my hike. Heard coyotes howling on my way down. Total miles hiked (I did check out other trails.) 10.70 miles w/ 1903ft elevation gain. Remember leave no trace, pack it in, pack it out and leave the trails better than you found them.

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Taylor Aguilar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
Hiking

Started the hike around 6:30 am and was treated to a beautiful sunrise! The trail was very enjoyable especially since it was out first time hiking at a higher elevation! Plenty of herds of Elk were seen running around early morning and a fairly decent amount of mountain goats were seen on the ridges. Nobody in my group used trekking poles but I'm sure they would have come in handy. Definitely a thigh killer though! 10/10 would recommend

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Ewoks A. Lot
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 1, 2020
Hiking

A bit of wildfire smoke collecting around the mountain, but not enough to ruin the experience. Nearly no wind at all, but very exposed to the elements (sun, rain, etc) so hikers should come prepared. Two dogs on trail (dogs are not allowed in the National Volcanic Monument)... but well behaved. A lot of signs of wildlife, but no first hand sightings. Good views and easy to navigate if you've brought a map.

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Orville Rhine
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Hiking
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Curvie Hawkins
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HikingGreat!

Excellent heart pumper to an awesome view reward. I hiked on a sunny, cloudless day and from the peak was able to see four mountains in panorama: Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood and Mount Saint Helens.

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Donald Redman
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Hiking

Amassing views from the peak. Amazing spot to have lunch with views of the other great mountains on the horizon.

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Natalia D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking

Cloudy and rainy but still pretty!

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Bill Tompkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 24, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeRocky

Beautiful view of the mountain and the after affects of the blast, pyroclastic flow. Saw alot of wildlife. Elk, deer, squirrels and some evidence of big cats.

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james haman
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HikingNo shadeScramble
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Bill Buetow
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HikingGreat!
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Natalie Oganesyan
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Hiking

Incredibly windy meaning lots of dust in the eyes. I recommend a very secure pair of sunglasses to shield debris. Beautiful views even with the Yakama fires.

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Malgorzata Orchard
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Lauren Cramer
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Hiking

Absolutely beautiful. The hike is mostly exposed, so bring at least 2L of water. It was challenging but worth the climb. Beautiful views of three mountains and three lakes from the top.

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Alice Xia
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HikingGreat!No shade

Amazing views! We had the trail all to ourselves when we hiked on a Monday.

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Derek Wilfong
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RunningGreat!

Great run. Weather was really foggy which made it pretty nice since most of it the trail is exposed. The trailhead at 8:00 am the temperature was 53 degrees. I warmed up pretty quickly though. Took a wrong turn and almost headed down to Coldwater Lake. Run up to Coldwater peak was more of a hike but definitely worth the 3/4 mile. Trail gets a little busy as you get closer to the visitor center but that is to be expected.

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P Cole
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking

tough.

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