Coldwater Lake, Washington, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Coldwater Lake WA.

If you’re considering Coldwater Lake WA vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Coldwater Lake WA guide!

Coldwater Lake WA visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - West - Washington - Southwest Washington -

Today Coldwater Lake is a peaceful, scenic 750-acre lake, but the violence of Mount St. Helens created the lake in 1980. On May 18, 1980, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake under Mount St. Helens caused a huge landslide and started an eruption that would forever change the face of the mountain. In 15 minutes a column of ash shot 80,000 feet into the air. It would take four days for all the ash to rain down on the earth covering 11 states. The landslide raced down Mount St. Helens, reaching speeds of 70 to 150 miles an hour. It covered 23 square miles and buried the North Fork Toutle River under tons of ash, mud and debris reaching 600 feet deep in some places. When the dust settled, literally, the peak of Mount St. Helens had dropped about 1,300 feet, and there were two new lakes at its base. Coldwater Lake and its sister, Castle Lake, were created when debris dammed the Coldwater Creek Valley.

Turning lemons into lemonade, two years later Congress established the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The monument encompasses 110,000 acres and includes several lakes and recreation areas. The Mount St. Helens Visitor Center at Silver Lake has exhibits to illustrate the volcano’s history and a wetland trail explaining the creation of Silver Lake during a previous eruption. Johnston Ridge Observatory is in the heart of the blast zone, and it has an inspiring view of the collapsed crater. Open seasonally, the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center has a gift shop, restaurant, and exhibits illustrating the forces at work in the area. Mount St. Helens is a popular climbing destination, but it is still an active volcano so extra precaution is necessary before attempting to climb the 8,363-foot peak. Advisories are posted, and a permit is required to climb the volcano.

Coldwater Lake spans parts of Cowlitz and Skamania Counties and is surrounded by the Coldwater Lake Recreation Area which has picnic facilities and a “Birth of the Lake” interpretive trail. A park boat launch provides lake access. Only electric motors are allowed on Coldwater Lake, and there is a creel limit to preserve and strengthen the fishing. After it formed, the lake was stocked with rainbow trout which naturalized and are now reproducing on their own. There are also healthy populations of cutthroat trout. The US Army Corps of Engineers created a bedrock spillway channel to prevent Coldwater Lake from overtopping, but nature has done the rest of the work to heal the lake and its surrounding environment.

The Coldwater Lake Recreation Area is for day use only, but there is camping nearby at Seaquest State Park. The 475-acre park includes a mile of Silver Lake’s shoreline. Campers can fish, boat and swim at the campground’s beach. There are also trails for hiking and biking. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Part of the Mt. Rainier Forest Reserve, the 1,312,000-acre forest was created in 1897 and renamed for the conservationist, Gifford Pinchot, in 1949.

Vacation rentals are not available directly on Coldwater Lake. The town of Castle Rock, less than an hour away, provides vacation rentals, boat rentals, restaurants, and other amenities for visitors. Real estate is available for sale for those wishing to make their stay in volcano country more permanent.

History has taught us that nothing is permanent. The earth and water can be reshaped in a matter of hours. But sometimes out of the destruction comes a beautiful, tranquil place like Coldwater Lake.

Custom Coldwater Lake WA house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Coldwater Lake WA

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • State Park
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Coldwater Lake WA

  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Coldwater Lake WA

The Coldwater Lake WA map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Coldwater Lake WA photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Coldwater Lake WA statistics & helpful links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 750 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,490 feet

Average Depth: 78 feet

Maximum Depth: 190 feet

Water Volume: 70,000 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 11,200 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Advertise your Coldwater Lake WA vacation rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer homeowners and property managers the opportunity to to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily for accommodations. If you’d like additional details, please contact our advertising team here.

divider

Looking for the Coldwater Lake WA forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Spread the word! Share our Coldwater Lake WA article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!