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Birth of a Lake Interpretive Trail

South Cascades


South Cascades -- Mount St. Helens
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1.2 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 0 ft.
Highest Point: 2500 ft.


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A short boardwalk at Coldwater Lake, the Birth of a Lake trail is stroller and wheelchair friendly, and provides interesting information about the creation of this lake thanks to the 1980 eruption.

From the paved parking area at the south end of Coldwater Lake, step out onto the Birth of the Lake trail. Just a half mile long, this short little out and back trail offers detours down boardwalk sections, as well as pavement, making it easily passable for all hiking abilities.

Interpretive signs along the way help illustrate and explain how Coldwater Lake was created from the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, and how, against all expectations, life surged back just a few decades after the devastating event. You may spot chewed trees, evidence of beavers activity, as well as fish feeding on insects, bird singing and swooping, and your fellow hikers enjoying the area.

There are picnic tables and restrooms here, as well as two separate parking areas, so there are lots of opportunities to enjoy nature here however you like.

Wheelchair Accessibility

The boardwalk here may become slippery when wet.

Birth of a Lake Interpretive Trail

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.2921, -122.2663 Open map in new window


South Cascades -- Mount St. Helens

Birth of a Lake (#246)

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

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Toilet Information

  • Toilet at trailhead
  • Accessible toilet

More information about toilets

Getting There

From Castle Rock, drive Highway 504 east for 43 miles. Stay right where the road forks towards the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Continue for one mile, turn left at Coldwater Lake.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee


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Birth of a Lake Interpretive Trail

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