Hike 40
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Coldwater Peak Hike
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THE FOLLOWING MAP IS NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATIONAL PURPOSES.
Map of the Coldwater Peak Hike

Length: 12.2 Miles round trip
Elevation Change: 2350' Cumulative Elevation gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Difficulty:   Challenging
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required
Volcano Alert Call this number to see if this trail is closed:  360-449-7800


Features:

This superb hike begins at the northeast corner of the Johnston Ridge parking lot. The first 1/4 mile of the trail is paved Visitors Center.

The trail follows Johnston Ridge eastward in such a way that you get outstanding views of Mt St Helens to the south, Harry's Ridge to the east, and Coldwater Peak to the north. The first 2 miles of this hike are heavily used and have rest benches from time to time. But after about 2 miles, the traffic really thins out.

At 2.3 miles you come to the junction with Trail #207 that cuts over to Windy Ridge. Keep straight ahead on your Trail #1 (known as the Boundary Trail). This is actually the low point in the hike. From here on you climb, gently at first, then quite steeply later.

A little over 3 miles into the hike you will cross a substantial metal bridge just before the junction to Trail #208 that leads to Harry's Ridge. Keep straight and after crossing a saddle area with excellent views of Spirit Lake and Mt Adams to the east, the trail climbs quite steeply for the next mile.

The trail will take you to a ridge where you can look down on St Helens Lake and over to Mt Margaret. Mt Rainier will be peaking over the ridge to the north of the lake. The trail follows around this ridge then descends into an extremely unique hole in the ridge.

The trail passes right through the hole, or arch as some refer to it. On the north side the trail skirts the ridge and you can look down on spectacular views of St Helens Lake. In about a half mile you will come to a major junction of trails.

At this point, keep on Boundary Trail #1 which heads north along the west side of St Helens Lake. In about another 3/4 mile you will come to the junction of Trail #1E. Bear left and begin the steep, well switch backed climb to the top of Coldwater Peak. With every step you gain better views of the surrounding terrain, including Mt Adams to the east, Spirit Lake, St Helens Lake, and of course Mt St Helens itself.

From the top of Coldwater Peak you get more excellent vistas to the west and to the north where you can see Mt Rainier.



Harry Ridge in the Mt St Helens National Volcanic Area
Harry Ridge in the Mt St Helens National Volcanic Area
How to get there:

From Seattle, WA
Drive south on I-5 to the junction of State Road 504. Exit the freeway, and turn left (east) onto SR504 and follow it east. At five miles you will pass the Silver Lake Visitor Center and in another 38 miles you will come to the junction to SR504 E. Bear right onto SR504 East and follow it another 8 miles to the Johnston Ridge Observatory.
(closed in winter)

From Portland, OR
Drive north on I-5 to the junction of Washington State Road 504. Exit the freeway, and turn right (east) onto SR504 and follow it east. At five miles you will pass the Silver Lake Visitor Center and in another 38 miles you will come to the junction to SR504 E. Bear right onto SR504 East and follow it another 8 miles to the Johnston Ridge Observatory.
(closed in winter)



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A Virtual Hike of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument


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