Coldwater Lake to Johnston Ridge Run/Hike October 11 2018

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
Post Reply
12XU
Posts: 19
Joined: April 17th, 2012, 10:28 pm

Coldwater Lake to Johnston Ridge Run/Hike October 11 2018

Post by 12XU » October 12th, 2018, 8:36 am

I've been planning on doing a large hike to take in most of Mt. Margaret backcountry in a single day for a couple years now, but my friend wasn't feeling up for the full 24 miles, so we decided on this 14 mile teaser instead.

Got a good start up to St. Helens with bikes on the car and dropped them off at the Johnston observatory, then drove back down to Coldwater Lake.

Image

Image

We planned this as a run/hike. The 5 mile start along the North shore of Coldwater Lake on the Lakes trail was a great start, minimal elevation, south facing so it was nice and warm early on, we made brisk work of the 5 miles and then arrived at the bridge crossing to the Coldwater Trail.

The climb up was a bit of a slog, the trail is fairly constantly steep, you're in the trees, and on a north facing slope so it was significantly wetter/colder with frost still on the trail. But we powered through and were happy to eventually break out of tree cover and into the blast zone.

We kept climbing and the sights kept increasing, eventually coming to a small ridge that offered this terrific view into the interior of Mt. Margaret backcountry.

Image

From here, every corner offered a brilliant, fresh perspective or new, completely stunning view.

Image

We were still climbing though, eventually reaching a saddle that unveiled Mt. St. Helens in full autumn glory. There were fresh numerous goat tracks, though we didn't see any. The trail here is slightly washed out in places, but was in generally okay condition.

Image

After a short descent, we rose to the high point of the day at around 5200' just below Coldwater Peak. After turning a corner, we were presented with excellent views of St. Helens Lake, as well as Mt. Adams, and the top of Mt. Rainier.

Image

We connected onto the Boundary trail, passing through a terrific archway, and back into a broad view of Mt. St. Helens.


Image

Image

Image

After the junction with Harry's trail, we settled into get it done mode and motored onto the Johnston observatory that was generally visible and serving as a finishing beacon. We started seeing people around Harry's Ridge, having had the whole place to ourselves for the rest of the day sparing two mountain bikers early on the Lakes Trail. This section of Boundary trail is pretty unremarkable after what came before so we generally kept our heads down to finish up. Once back at the Observatory, we hopped on our bikes and shuttled ourselves down the 7 miles of road, back to the car and the PBJs waiting for us at Coldwater Lake.

Final strava statistics say: 14.08 miles, 4,112' of elevation gain, 3:57 total time. Excellent Day!
https://www.strava.com/activities/1898997594

Chazz
Posts: 301
Joined: May 26th, 2013, 12:53 pm

Re: Coldwater Lake to Johnston Ridge Run/Hike October 11 2018

Post by Chazz » October 15th, 2018, 6:51 am

Nice workout! I need a break from doing Nasties in the Forest Park area and this would be an excellent alternative.

https://sites.google.com/site/runs4cach ... orest-park

Post Reply