Backpack to Snow Lake by Mt. Whittier

Washington Lakes Trail #211

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.

Pack List

  • Tent with rain fly (weather can change quickly)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Stove (no campfires allowed)
  • Camping cookware
  • Food
  • Snacks
  • Water or pump
  • Lamp
  • Walking poles
  • Hiking shoes
  • Permit for camp site
  • Camera
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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



16 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2700 Feet



Picnic Area

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How to Get There

8 months ago

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!

8 months ago

Added by Tara Warolin

I am a Washington native. I have lived in Washington, California, Iowa, New York and New Zealand. As you can tell I love the outdoors, but I also love movie bloopers, minimalist living, any sort of crafting and cats. I'm an introvert to the core so I like to hike alone.

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