Trail #246 Birth of a Lake

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

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: 4/02/2019: Little snow on the trail.
Fees Coldwater Lake Picnic and Boating Site charges a per person day use fee. 
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: Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters and 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 Picnic and Boating Area. The trailhead is accessed from the picnic area.



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Day Hiking

Areas & Activities



  Area/Length : 
0.3 miles

  Elevation : 
2475' - 2490'


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