Quote of the Month:

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own." - Charles Dickens

South Coldwater Ridge Trail

Parent Category: Hiking
Created: 18 November 2016
Location: South Cascades Region, West of Mount St. Helens
Roundtrip: 6,2 miles 
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1525 feet
GPS Coordinates: N 46 17.147   W 122 15.208
Visitor’s Information:

Northwest Forest Pass Required

Pictures below will take you on a virtual tour along an incredible South Coldwater Ridge. Enjoy the beauty of an amazing scenery!

 Photo from South Coldwater Ridge, west of Mount St. Helens, South Cascades Region
General Information:

Mount St. Helens is a natural monument, reminding people how unpredictable and unrelenting the nature can be. This amazing National Volcanic Monument attracts annually millions of tourists, offering them multiple ways to explore the area of the terrific eruption of St. Helens volcano, plenty educational stands and signs telling the history of the volcano and the story of its eruption, and a great number of trails allowing the visitors to enjoy the beauty of this gorgeous mountain and its surrounding.

One of the best ways to admire the beauty of volcanic landscapes is to hike the South Coldwater Ridge. Being not as popular as the trails on the eastern side of Mount St. Helens, the trail running over the South Coldwater Ridge will provide you with quietness and solitude, so precious for people who are looking for a place to rest from the fuss and hustle of the city life and are willing to spend some alone time reflecting on their life.

Photo from South Coldwater Ridge, west of Mount St. Helens, South Cascades Region

This trail, which is a little bit more than 3 miles long, starts at the South Coldwater Trailhead, which can be found easily. The trail takes the visitors along the southern side of a magnificent Coldwater Lake, giving them a chance to enjoy the glittering waters of this amazing lake created during the volcano eruption in 1980. 

Take a great delight in multiple wildflowers covering the slopes of the South Coldwater Ridge, pleasing the eye and cheering the heart with their beautiful colors. Seeing these incredibly beautiful scenery it is hard to believe that only 3,5 decades ago this place was the site of destruction where dispiteous lava flows and lahars were sweeping all on their path, destroying the local flora and fauna. And it is really miraculous how nature is reviving after such a destruction.

Photo from South Coldwater Ridge, west of Mount St. Helens, South Cascades Region

While following the trail you may see numerous stumps scattered over the Ridge – a vivid description of the logging works which were taking place on the ridge in 1970 – 1980. In approximately 1,6 miles you will be able to see one more evidence of logging works, the first of several remains of logging equipment, crumpled and destroyed and half-buried by an enormous blast of Mount St. Helens in May of 1980 – a vivid illustration the unbelievable force of and power of the nature. 

Moving further along the trail you will be able to admire the sweeping views of Mount St. Helens. Keep your eyes open as besides the beautiful flora coming back to life after the eruption, fauna is reverting to its original state too. Be ready to see elks there, walking among the rare trees there.

Photo from South Coldwater Ridge, west of Mount St. Helens, South Cascades Region

In a little more than 3 miles you will reach the trail junction of the Coldwater Trail and the South Coldwater Trail. At this point you may turn around or precede your hike going to the Coldwater Peak (for this you need to keep right at the trail junction and take the trail #230). 

During your trip along the South Coldwater Ridge you should remember that it is forbidden to walk off the trail not to disturb the fragile surface of the soil covered by volcanic ash. The dogs unfortunately are also not allowed on this trail. 

 Photo from South Coldwater Ridge, west of Mount St. Helens, South Cascades Region


We would like to offer you to enjoy this incredible relaxation video, beautiful views and nature sounds of which will transfer you to the South Coldwater Ridge, so that you will be able to soak yourself in amazing wildflowers and birdsongs.



These pictures were taken on July 21, 2016

Driving Directions:

If you are coming from Toutle, go east by State Highway 504 for aproximately 36 miles.

GPS Coordinates:  N 46 17.147   W 122 15.208

In order to get directions click on the map below:



Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska

Information: Svetlana Baranova

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