Directions: Take I-5 North to exit 49. Go right and drive for about 43 miles on 504E. You will come to a junction go right for Coldwater Lake and drive for about 2 miles until you come to two parking areas, park in the one on the right, not the boat ramp area.
Take the trail behind the informational sign that goes down to the lake and a boardwalk path. You’ll get a good view of the lake and Mt. St. Helens. Head back up this trail to the parking lot and go to the parking area with the boat ramp. There is a trail here just left of the boat ramp that you need to get on.
From here you will stay on this trail as it follows along the lake. You will get up above it for a while and get nice views. Eventually you head downhill again and come to a beach access area. The junction for the beach is by a shed that is actually a composting toilet. If you make this the stopping point your round trip total will be around 2.5 miles.
Continuing on the trail rollercoasters and it’s more of the same, views of the lake and surrounding area. We went about a mile past the beach and turned around due to the high heat. Head back out the way you came in.
The trail is very overgrown and dusty and the mosquitoes were thick. I think we’ll come back and kayak the lake, it will probably be more enjoyable.
Distance: Depends on how far down the lake you go. We did 3.5 miles (easy).
Elevation: This also depends on how far you go. We had about 350 feet of elevation gain (easy).
Pet Friendly: Yes
Good For: All ages
Bathrooms: Yes at both parking areas
Parking Fee: None
Seasons: Spring through late fall
Warnings: There were posted warnings of recent cougar sightings.