Trail #246 Birth of a Lake

Area Status: Open
Boardwalk at Coldwater Lake

This short, accessible boardwalk trail explores the creation of Coldwater Lake. It leaves from the Coldwater Lake Picnic and Boating Area. Interpretive displays explain how the 1980 debris avalanche dammed Coldwater Creek, creating Coldwater Lake. Chewed trees, the sign of beavers at work, can often be seen around the trail. Ripples, caused by trout rising to feed on insects, are also a common sight.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 11/19/21: Boardwalk may have snow or ice at times, due to winter conditions. Trailhead is plowed during the winter. 
Fees: No fee or pass required at this time. See Mount St. Helens Map for fee and payment sites.
Restrictions: Off trail travel prohibited. No pets, stock, or bicycles. Day-use only. No fishing or swimming from Birth of a Lake Trail.
Closest Towns: Toutle, WA, Castle Rock, WA
Water: Yes
Restroom: Yes
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:


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 Picnic and Boating Area. The trailhead is accessed from the picnic area.


Day Hiking

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
0.3 miles

  Elevation : 
2475' - 2490'