Coldwater Lake Picnic and Boating Site

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Coldwater Lake Recreation Area is located 45 miles east of Castle Rock in the heart of the blast zone near the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater and Johnston Ridge Observatory. Experience the effect the May 18, 1980 eruption had on the Coldwater Valley, including creating a brand new lake. Kayaking is popular here. Combustion engines are prohibited on the lake, but anglers reach trophy trout by electric motors, rowing, or kicking. Fishing is open year-round with a one-fish limit greater than 16 inches. Artificial, single, barbless hooks are required.

Check with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for more information about fishing.

The 0.6 miles accessible Birth of a Lake Interpretive Trail allows visitors to enjoy close up views of Coldwater Lake.

Accessible Adventures Video

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Electric motors only. Fishing regs: Trout, year-round. Minimum size 16", limit 1. Artificial lures only, no bait, single point barbless hooks. See selective gear rules. No parking pass currently required. Restrooms open year-round.
Usage: Light-Medium
Restrictions: Camping is not permitted. Gasoline motors are prohibited.
Closest Towns: Castle Rock , WA, Toutle, WA
Water: Potable Water
Restroom: Flush toilets
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters & Visitor Centers

General Information


From Castle Rock, drive State Route 504 east 43 miles. Stay right where State Route 504 forks towards the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Continue for 1 mile, turn left at Coldwater Lake.


 See video

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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