Coldwater Lake Trail

MODERATE 42 reviews

Coldwater Lake Trail is a 8.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Toutle, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November.

8.3 miles
797 feet
Out & Back


mountain biking

trail running






wild flowers




washed out

no dogs

From Castle Rock, drive east 35 miles to the Coldwater Visitor Center in Mount St. Helens National Monument. The signed trailhead is immediately following the visitors center on the left.

2 months ago

Tried to do Harry’s Ridge but the access road was closed right after the trailhead to Coldwater Lake. It was a nice enough hike on a clear blue sky day. Views of the lake and some surrounding mountains somewhat monotonous but still very beautiful and peaceful. Not many out on the trail at all on a Sunday.

6 months ago

Just hiked the North side of the lake to the bridge. The trail is in excellent condition but for some wire sticking up. I went with 4 friends on August 1st and the heat was brutal. The hike says it is about 4.5 miles out to the bridge but we registered 6 on our fitness trackers. Make.sure to take a lot.of food and water if you go. Especially if it's hot. Lots of little springs to splash water on yourself. Very refreshing on such a hot day. I jumped into the lake at the boat launch when we got back. GREAT HIKE. Forgot to mention all of the scenery on the drive. Saint Helens is amazing.

6 months ago

Did this hike with a friend and the trail was in great shape. Lots of beautiful, quiet lake views, some pretty fantastic views of Mount St. Helens on the way in and for about the first mile of the hike. We didn't see any other hikers until the very end when we were almost back to the trailhead at the boat launch. I will come back to so this hike again with my 8-year-old daughter soon!

7 months ago

Some of the best views of mountains Ive seen this year.

7 months ago

Very easy hike. Crossed several small streams. Very enjoyable

Beautiful view and pretty flat. Great place to take kids.

7 months ago

what a great hike! The flowers were incredible and the lake and mountain views were beautiful. This is an easy, relatively flat hike that would be great for kids. a lot of effort has gone into creating establishing and maintaining this trail, and although, as trails go, it is not a very old trail, it is really easy to walk on. There are places where the chain link fencing used to stabilize the ground is sticking up, so watch your step especially if you are running.
Was able to go for a swim after our hike and watched a fisherman pull a beautiful trout from the lake. I'll definitely be putting this on my list of trails to take out of town visitors to.
ps: the views of Mount Saint Helens on the drive-in are an added bonus exclamation point
ps: please excuse typos! fat/swollen fingers from hiking!

8 months ago

Great family outing. Perfect hike for all levels of abilities.

8 months ago

Such a beautiful day to be out hiking the lake to the waterfall.

9 months ago

it was the perfect morning for a hike and this trail was beautiful. we'll marked, almost totally dry, spectacular views, benches & am out house along the way. due to time restraints with my large group we only did a Mile out. I hope to return soon to do the whole thing.

9 months ago

Great hike, easy due to no elevation gain, 5 miles to creek and 5 miles back. Waterproof shoes in spring! Lots of wildlife.

9 months ago

Incredibly beautiful hike!!

10 months ago

Beautiful hike. A few spots where the trail was eroded but passable. Lovely flowers. Watch for ticks!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

I didn't hike the entire length of it, wanted to get back home before dark. But beautiful clear lake, gorgeous wildflowers all along the trail. I often took breaks to just appreciate the quiet and the scenery. Great outing while checking out Mt Saint Helens.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Not where we planned on hiking today, but arrived at about 1ish today. Parked in the first parking lot we came to, but started trail to the left of the boat launch. Hiked the first 3.25 miles. Very easy hike. In that 3 miles, only 2 areas of a steep hike up, but very very easy hike. Not much shade today, and it was sunny. Some bugs (dragon flies and some gnats on the way back). Lots and lots of wildflowers blooming. As stated, the trail is very easy and easy to follow, but lots of flowers hanging over the trail or making it seem narrow. Entire hike is along the water with beautiful views.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Great! Not many other travelers. Great weather. Highly recommend.

trail running
Monday, October 12, 2015

This was a great trail for running, however, there were some chain link fences that were placed down for erosion that had started popping up. I also impaled myself on one. Other than that, it's in good shape.

The lake is great for swimming too!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The trail is in good shape, long pants shouldn't be required unless one has sensitive skin; ) The haze from the wildfires was really bad today. Other than that it is a fantastic hike. The hill from the observatory according to Endomondo is roughly 1000 feet, so one could go to the boat ramp for a little easier route.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Very nice, scenic, easy hike along the lake. Well groomed trail, mountain bikes are allowed, but didn't see any. Trailhead is easy to find at the boat launch. You can take a side trail up to the Coldwater visitor center. Will be back for sure and will probably bring mountain bikes fur an easy ride with the kids.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Clear skies over Mt St Helens and Coldwater lake today. The trail head was easy to find right at the boat launch of the recreation area. Contrary to some reviews, there are no permits required and be advised that there no dogs allowed on the trail. That said, nice easy hike. Beautiful lake and views. Signs say to not go off the designated path, but how will you sit on the drift wood and dip your feet in the water;)? We hiked almost to the end of the lake before turning around. Trail is well maintained with a few down trees, though nothing you cant step over. Surprisingly not many other people on this trail today. Be sure to make time to check out this trail if you are in the area. Closest gas station is about 30 miles away. And be sure to pack out what you pack in!

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