Toutle, Washington

Hike to Coldwater Peak via Boundary Trail

14.8 Miles Total - 2700 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Sarah Horn

A 14.8 out and back summit hike with huge views of Spirit Lake, Mount St Helens, Adams, Rainer and Hood.

The Boundary trail is amazing. It's 54 miles long and runs for the most part along a ridge in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. You can climb various peaks and viewpoints right off the trail, but this trip report is for climbing Coldwater Peak and hiking up to Harry's Ridge Viewpoint on the way. Harry's Ridge is the nearest tallest viewpoint from Johnson Ridge Observatory (2 mile round trip from junction with Boundary Trail) and the nearest peak is Coldwater Peak (1.5 mile round trip from junction with Boundary Trail). 

I started the hike at Johnson Ridge Observatory, where there's a nice big parking lot (no bathrooms). 

From the moment you step out on the trail you have a massive view of Mount St Helen's north side and the valley stretching below it. After a few miles along the ridge you come up to a full view of Mt. Adams and Spirit Lake below. Mt Hood is off in the distance behind Mt Saint Helens.

It's also possible to backpack along the Boundary Trail in designated backcountry campgrounds. There's no water on the trail so bring plenty and be prepared for sun and wind. 

Another thing I love about this trail is that it's accessible right off of a paved highway and only 2 hours from Portland. 

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Overall rating: 

Awesome hike, lots of solitude

I would rate this hike as moderate and great for any season, just make sure you have snowshoes or touring gear for the winter months. You'll be sure to see herds of elk and lots of other wildlife as well. Great views of Mount St Helens on a clear day as well as other surrounding volcanic peaks.

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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