Backpack to Snow Lake by Mt. Whittier

Details

Distance

16 miles

Elevation Gain

2700 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Tara Warolin

Distance: ~16 miles round trip. Total Elevation Gain: ~2700 feet. Tons of Wildlife. Several alpine lakes. Views of Mt. St. Helens (when clear). Remains from Mt. St. Helens eruption.

The Coldwater Lake Recreation Area has restrooms, telephones, and a picnic area. Make sure you have already acquired your permits for camping in the Mt. Margaret back country.

Follow trail #211, which runs along the entire 4.5 mile length of Coldwater Lake. It is a beautiful and fairly flat hike with great views of the lake and tons of wildflowers during the right season.

After the lake, the #211 trail connects with the #230 trail. Continue on the #211 trail for about another 4 miles to Snow Lake, 5 miles to Shovel Lake and 7 miles to the top of Mt. Whittier.

You will walk along a valley ridge where elk herds have been spotted several times before. Higher up and farther in Mt. Margaret back country is where you'll see all the dead tries from the Mt. St. Helens erruption. It is incredibly to see, but also very eerie if the fog rolls in.

Snow Lake has a nice sandy beach area where you can set up your tent. I believe only 2 tents are allowed to camp there. More campsites are available at Shovel Lake which also has a bear box.

DANGER: The hiking path up to Mt. Whittier can be covered in snow and in some parts, washed out. Be careful.

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Known for

Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Backpack to Snow Lake

To wake up in the morning with an eerie fog in an already eerie landscape makes it that much more interesting!

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5.0/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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