Coldwater Loop

Toutle, Washington 98645

Coldwater Loop

Coldwater Loop Professional Review and Guide

"This entire hike is within the Blast Zone of the May 18, 1980, eruption, and features elk and blacktails. This hike leads you up a ridge from South Coldwater Trailhead on the South Coldwater Trail, passing demolished logging equipment. You’ll then descend into Coldwater Canyon on the Coldwater Trail.

Once you reach the canyon bottom, you’ll hike along Coldwater Lake on the Lakes Trail to Lakes Trailhead. Early in the season (April and May) elk are very common along the Coldwater Lake section of this route, which can be accessed at that time from Lakes Trailhead, but the higher elevations of the loop will probably still be snow covered. Black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) are common along the lake in all seasons."

Coldwater Loop Reviews

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The weather was great, sunny with a breeze. We started the hike at 1:30 which, in hindsight, was a poor choice, since we were on the trail for 6 hours. Be sure to start this one early in the day. It's long and there are many reasons to stop including the masses of tiny frogs which covered the path for the first 1/2 mile. Clearing them from the path in order to walk without crushing them was daunting ;-) There are also MANY great photo ops here. Bring your camera. At times, the trail fades to almost nothing. If you aren't comfortable with that, navigating through thick vegetation or scrambling across a few creeks - this isn't the trail for you. On the otherhand, if you like all of that, this is a spectacular trail. We saw many deer, lots of animal tracks, great views and the lake is lovely. We'll be back to kayak some day.
nice hike, connector (230) between south coldwater trail (230a) and north shore of coldwater lake (#211) is not maintained and at times quite overgrown. requires almost 1 mile of walking along south coldwater creek road to connect south coldwater trailhead (TH) with coldwater lake TH. beautiful views of lake and mt. st. helens. recommend doing the loop in clockwise direction, starting at the south coldwater TH, then along road to coldwater lake TH, follow #211, connect to #230, and return via #230a to trailhead.

Coldwater Loop Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
1,380 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Day hike
June through October. Section along Coldwater Lake usually snow-free by April.
2,520 feet
Trailhead Elevation
3,900 feet
Top Elevation
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Local Contacts
USGS Elk Rock, Spirit Lake West
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018