Coldwater Lake

Toutle, Washington

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You will wind in and out of a couple of side draws with small seasonal streams as you make your way along the lakeshore. Cottonwoods are beginning to reforest this area; there are some relatively large ones here close to the trail. After passing the lake access point, the trail crosses more streams and traverses a grove of young alder. As you pass the alder and cottonwood trees look for the evidence of chewing beavers. At 0.8 mile past the lake access point you will cross a stream with a waterfall that drops in stages from the ridge above the trail. Just past this waterfall the trail climbs slightly and passes below some dark cliffs. The route soon descends back to near lake level, then climbs again to traverse above another set of cliffs. As you pass these cliffs another waterfall descends the slope to your left. A bit farther along a view of the canyon ahead opens up as you pass through alder thickets and cross tiny streams. The rubbing and chewing activities of elk have scarred many of the young alder trees along this part of the trail. Watch for them on all the open slopes around the lake. This hike is best done early in the season. Many of the streams may be dry by midsummer. When I hiked this trail in mid-April I had elk in view much of the time.
Best Easy Day Hikes: Mount St. Helens

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Easy Day Hikes: Mount St. Helens

by Fred Barstad (Falcon Guides)

You will wind in and out of a couple of side draws with small seasonal streams as you make your way along the lakeshore. Cottonwoods are beginning to reforest this area; there are some relatively large ones here close to the trail. After passing the lake access point, the trail crosses more streams and traverses a grove of young alder. As you pass the alder and cottonwood trees look for the evidence of chewing beavers. At 0.8 mile past the lake access point you will cross a stream with a waterfall that drops in stages from the ridge above the trail. Just past this waterfall the trail climbs slightly and passes below some dark cliffs.

The route soon descends back to near lake level, then climbs again to traverse above another set of cliffs. As you pass these cliffs another waterfall descends the slope to your left. A bit farther along a view of the canyon ahead opens up as you pass through alder thickets and cross tiny streams. The rubbing and chewing activities of elk have scarred many of the young alder trees along this part of the trail. Watch for them on all the open slopes around the lake. This hike is best done early in the season. Many of the streams may be dry by midsummer. When I hiked this trail in mid-April I had elk in view much of the time.

©  Fred Barstad/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Toutle
Distance: 7.6
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: Day hike
Season: Best spring thru fall
Local Contacts: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Local Maps: USGS Elk Rock, Spirit Lake W
Driving Directions: Directions to Coldwater Lake

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Apr 2018