Highly recommend doing this loop counter clockwise so you begin with the hill. It was super beautiful and clear. Several points on the trail had streams of water going across so mind your footwear. Look for the old construction equipment at the peaks!

5/24/20 - went counter clockwise since the sky was clear in the AM and I didn't want to end a long hike with a huge elevation change. Took me 6 hours total, but I stopped and chatted with some people, ate lunch on the bridge, and took lots of pics. I saw only 4 people on the south side of the lake. A lot more people on the north side. South side was less muddy than the north. Did 95% of the hike in my Nike crosstrainers. Trail is pretty well maintained. Because of length, I agree it's a "hard" hike, but definitely on the easier side of hard in general. A little buggy, so bring some repellent. Views were awesome.

I don't think it is 11 miles. It's more like 14 miles. Myself and my partner had GPS watches and we both had 14 miles. Other than that great trail and its definitely a workout. Beautiful sights AND sounds (had an owl laughing at us on our way heading down to the parking lot).

Beautiful trail - saw lots of elk - we parked at boat ramp then walked up road (because it’s closed) and started trail at south coldwater loop - clearly marked and easy to follow

hiking
snow
2 months ago

Update: The road to this trail is closed to wheeled vehicles until April. Kids have moved the barricades and Forrest gates so it may look open but not worth going up until snow has cleared.

Started loop counter-clockwise from the boat ramp parking. South Coldwater trail parking is closed. Sunny and clear so the view of Mt Saint Helens was easy to see. Nice view of the lake as well. I recommend having snowshoes to complete the loop, they will come in handy unless you are the type who likes a challenge. Micro spikes are not needed but had them also. Trail is hidden by snow in some areas so I used my Garmin several times to navigate. Once you cross the bridge it becomes easy. Patches of snow on the lake trail but not much. Had top and bottom base layers and Mid layers and I still was warm. There are hikers but you will probably not see anyone.

on Birth of a Lake Trail

hiking
3 months ago

Worth taking the time to visit and sit along the water.

Did this loop counter clockwise. The road walk from parking to the trail was a nice warm up before climbing up the ridge. Got lucky with weather, blue skies and sunshine so enjoyed the views. Can barely see Mt St Helens from the trail tho. Trail is great, really enjoyed it. Climbs not too steep. No snow anywhere yet.

Excellent run on crisp fall morning. Parked at the boat ramp and made my way around counter clockwise. Trail was in really good shape.

hiking
7 months ago

no snow yet. cold so bring hat and gloves. stunning views the entire hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Not a bad trail. Good parking. To get there and you use a GPS just set it to “Johnston Observatory”. They share a parking lot. The trail was long but not difficult. Good views. I saw some elk. It was foggy when I arrived, but it did burn off. Not the greatest trail signs.

hiking
7 months ago

went to devil’s elbow. beautiful.

hiking
rocky
snow
7 months ago

Fantastic hike over new terrain thanks to Mount St Helens. Trail well marked from the Observatory. Saw 2 herds of cow elk and 4 bulls chasing them along the ridge. Spectacular views and quite enjoyable.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked this trail in early October and it was awesome. The views were stunning with clouds rolling right up over the trail.

hiking
7 months ago

Very well maintained. a lot of moderate up and down, so total elev. gain/loss from the Johnston Observatory is quite a bit more than the difference of elevations been the two points. On a cloudy day (Saturday) with intermittent showers views were very limited. But when sun cut through: Wow! Will go back on a sunny day. There is no shade and very few spots on the trail suitable to stop for a "picnic" break, so pla. accordingly. Overall a great hiking trail. Not much traffic, but temps were 40s and lots of mist/light rain to keep fair weather hikers away.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful and easy to get to! Really awesome views of the devastation. There are some other trails to go off and explore as well! Devils elbow (I think that’s what it was called) was a cool stop. We also took a trail that went straight out into the open land which was cool and explored a watering hole. Fun hike and pretty moderate so it doesn’t tire you out too bad!

hiking
8 months ago

It was a great hike with very little traffic on the trail. The ranger at the visitor center was very helpful. The trail was well marked and easy to negotiate. If you want views of Mt St Helens, check weather report before you go.

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

Completed this hike on Sept 21, 2019. You don’t need a map to use this trail, it’s clearly marked. There were a few parts of the trail that were almost covered. The hardest part was the last 1/4 mile up to the top, that was a pretty steep climb. Once you get to the top the map shows the trail going a little further but you don’t need to. It’s the same view but different perspective. Outside of that it was a very beautiful hike and I couldn’t of asked for a better day temperature wise and clear skies in which I could see Mount St Helens in all its beauty.

hiking
no shade
over grown
8 months ago

Did this hike on 9/21. It was PHENOMENAL! Not difficult at all and the views are breath taking especially when you get to the top of the ridge. Once at the top you can take a rest near the monitors or continue down the hill where it is super quiet and you can sit and stare at the smoking crater. We saw a couple baby garter snakes and on our way back down....A BEAR! It was so cool. It was far enough away to feel completely safe but close enough to be incredibly excited about it. We even saw bear tracks amongst the overabundance of elk tracks. The Johnston Ridge Observatory was super neat and the rangers were all very helpful and friendly. Next hike there will be to Coldwater peak which looks amazing and perfectly difficult.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful views of mt St. Helens

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

Hiked on September 21. Beautiful weather for it, clear day with perfect view of the crater from Johnston Ridge Observatory. We were originally planning a (too) ambitious hike to Loowit falls, but at the gentle coaxing of the staff and a volunteer, decided instead to do Harry's Ridge. The huckleberry bushes were covered in berries and turning dark red, meaning the hillsides were gorgeously piebald with fall colors. The hike is almost completely without shade, so I would not want to do it in the summer, but early fall on a breezy day was pretty good.

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

Beautiful little hike. It took us 2 hours and 40 minutes in and out. we were moving pretty quickly. Bring lots of water (I took 2 liters but could have drank more). You are fully exposed to the sun so it does hey pretty hot. Beautiful views of Mt. St. Helens and the lake!

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful day for a hike, a little cloudy which was perfect. Despite the fog, great views

Beautiful. It was a cold foggy morning and the views were still stunning. Easy walk and very informative.

hiking
no shade
over grown
8 months ago

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