Coldwater Peak

Summit: 5,720ft

Native Land of the: Cowlitz

15.4m 3,710ft gain

This lovely mountain lies seven miles north of Mount Saint Helens in the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The lateral blast from the 1980 eruption of MSH pointed directly towards Coldwater Peak and stripped everything from its slopes. Today it offers a unique chance to see a full panorama of the blast zone while the entire trail tells a story of destruction and regrowth!

Coldwater Peak from the summit of Mount Saint Helens. You can see the Lava Dome at the bottom of the picture.
Coldwater from Johnston Ridge during a previous trip with my family.

1st Trip: 10/22/20

Mount Saint Helens is only 35 miles north of our home in Vancouver making all the surrounding trails great options for after work hikes. For this trip it’s an 1hr30min drive to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. From there the Boundary trail takes you three miles to the junction with Harry’s Ridge. That entire stretch of trail follows the edge of Johnston Ridge with outstanding views of Mount Saint Helens and the Lava Dome!

Paved for the first 1/4 mile.
Coldwater Peak in sight
The Lava Dome!

Past Harry’s Ridge the Boundary trail heads north to a saddle with a nice view of Spirit Lake and Mount Adams.

I’d gain 1,000ft over the next mile.

Harry’s Ridge

The following ridge had a great view towards the Mount Margaret Backcountry and Saint Helens Lake. The trail then descends through a cool natural hole in the wall.

Past the arch the Boundary trail traverses below Coldwater Peak and above Saint Helens Lake.

The next side trail takes you 3/4 mile and 600ft up to Coldwater Peak! The ominous clouds made this dramatic scene even better!

If Adams was clear this would be quite the shot.
The true summit
Seismic measuring equipment. Use to be lookout here.
I’d love to hit all these peaks from the Norway Pass trailhead.
Heading back.
Still countless signs of destruction but apparently Mount Saint Helens will regrow to its original size in a few centuries.
Thousands of destroyed trees from the eruption cover 40% of Spirit Lake.

More clouds started to roll in but it made for more incredibly unique views!

This area is so much fun for people of all fitness levels! I’d spend more time on the north side if they allowed dogs but Moose spends plenty of time on the south side. This year I plan to take the Loowit Trail which circumnavigates MSH in 32 miles. That’s the last goal on the mountain I need to check off after a few successful ski tours this winter!

Fun drive home with no one on the road!

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