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Coldwater Peak



0.7 mile 1.1 kilometer point to point
52% Runnable


Ascent: 666' 203 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 5,727' 1,746 m
Low: 5,061' 1,543 m


Avg Grade: 18% (10°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Karl W

Experience 360 degree views of Rainier, Adams, Hood, & especially Helens near seismic equipment after simple switchbacks

Karl W

Features Geological Significance · Historical Significance · Views · Wildlife

Need to Know

You should check in at the Johnson Ridge Observatory to pay the $8/person fee and get your armband. Interagency passes are accepted, but you must bring yours into the office rather than leave it in your car.
This is in the blast zone of Helens so there are almost no trees and thus no shade: bring your sun screen.


You'll most likely climb Coldwater Peak from the Johnson Ridge Observatory via the Boundary Trail, in which case check out the related "featured run". Regardless, you'll have to take the Boundary Trail from somewhere to get to the beginning of this trail, which is well-marked with a wooden sign. The slope up the eastern side of Coldwater Peak is fairly clear from the beginning of the trail, switchbacking along the southern edge of a prominent ridge. Simply follow the clear singletrack switchbacks up! The trail is pretty easy but erosion has narrowed it in sections.

At the top you'll find quite a bit of seismic monitoring equipment, antenna, and some solar panels to power it all. Don't touch this important equipment. It might be cool for some runners or an eyesore for others, but you can enjoy excellent views without it in the way as the summit is fairly roomy. You'll be treated to exceptional views of Mount Saint Helens from over the blast zone and Johnson Ridge; most of Mount Rainier to the north; Mount Stain Helens Lake to the east; Spirit Lake; Mount Adams; and Mount Hood in the distance. On exceptionally clear days you'll likely be able to see other volcanoes on the horizon.

Flora & Fauna

This region has been left to recover naturally from the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens, so the flora look very different from nearby in Washington (don't expect old growth!). The open views result in higher probabilities of spotting animals such as the local mountain goats, elk, and innumerable ground squirrels.

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4 Views Last Month
59 Since Oct 17, 2019



Mount Saint Helens from partway up Coldwater Peak
Oct 16, 2019 near Morton, WA
Part of the seismic equipment and the view west to the Coastal Range from the top of Coldwater Peak
Oct 16, 2019 near Morton, WA


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