Once the home of St. Helens’ premier man-made attraction, Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center shuttered its doors in late 2007. Mountain oglers should still stop here to get a good look at the peak from the quarter-mile Winds of Change Interpretive Trail, just outside the closed visitors center.
For another short hike, head two miles downhill to five-mile-long Coldwater Lake, where the quarter-mile Birth of a Lake Trail takes you by boardwalk past the debris avalanche left behind by the eruption. The lake is known for excellent rainbow and cutthroat trout fishing, with a minimum size of 16 inches for keepers.
Rafts or float tubes are recommended to lessen the damage from bankside anglers, and gasoline-powered motorboats are prohibited. There’s no camping, and be sure to stay on the trails or risk a $100 fine.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition