OverviewGreat hike to see into the north side of St. Helens, Spirit Lake and the wastelands created by the eruption. After climbing through snags, you hike through a natural rock arch before getting to the greener slopes of Coldwater Peak. Easy Class 1 hike with astounding views in a unique setting. You have a chance to see elk, goats and lots of grasshoppers in the ashy slopes. It's 12.8 miles roundtrip from the Johnston Ridge Observatory with about 2000 feet of elevation. Nice change to bag some other peaks in this area too.
Getting ThereSee the Getting There section of the Main Page for directions to the trailhead at the Johnston Ridge Observatory.
Route DescriptionFrom the parking lot, you can either walk up to the Observatory and take the Eruption Trail from the terrace around the south and east sides of the Visitor Center walkway to the Boundary Trail, or, you can just start at the trail from the northeast side of the parking lot.
The trail travels easterly along Johnston Ridgebetween viewpoints. At 1.9 miles, there is a great viewpoint at a sharp left turn on the trail (it's obvious). From there, the trail heads northeasterly into more vegetated gullies before a junction is met with the Truman Trail. Stay left here and travel another mile to Harry's Saddle, a viewpoint between ridges with a great view of Spirit Lake.
From Harry's Saddle continue north on the trail for two miles up a ridge with some switchbacks to Point 5332.
The trail heads around the west side of the subpeak and ducks down through a natural rock arch to another junction with the Coldwater Trail #230. Stay right here another .4 miles along the east slopes of Coldwater Peak (between it and St. Helens Lake). At .4 miles from the saddle and previous trail junction, turn left at the sign for Coldwater Peak Trail. This switchbacks up the grassy slopes .6 miles to the summit.