Boundary Trail to Coldwater Peak 2,769ft elevation 11.9mi

Boundary Trail to Coldwater Peak 2,769ft elevation 11.9mi

One cannot help but be humbled by the sight of the regrowth along the Boundary Trail, a vivid reminder of the earth's ability to heal even after the most catastrophic events. The trail winds through landscapes once scarred by the volcanic eruption of 1980, offering a front-row seat to the miraculous transformation that has taken place over the decades.

A single tree growing

Walking amidst the vibrant wildflowers, young saplings, and thriving wildlife, you can't help but feel a profound sense of wonder at the resilience of life. It's not until you reach the St. Helens Lake, formed by the eruption, that splintered tree bases begin to appear. Once a barren land it’s now being reclaimed and rejuvenated.

Wildflowers growing with the mountain and lake in the background

Every step you take you see a story of resilience, adaptation, and the cyclical nature of life. As you ascend the trail, the panoramic views unfold, leaving you breathless at the sheer grandeur of the surrounding wilderness. The 360-degree vistas from the trail offer glimpses of snow-capped peaks far in the distance and expansive valleys. The sight of Mount Saint Helens herself, majestically rising against the backdrop of the sky, is the most astounding. Whether you're an avid hiker or a casual nature enthusiast, the beauty of this trail is sure to leave you in awe.

Me standing in front of the vast view of Mt. Saint Hellens

Tips for this hike:

1. Prepare Adequately: Wear appropriate hiking gear - there is little to no tree cover to protect you from the sun or rain, carry plenty of water, and pack some snacks to energize yourself along the way!

2. Timing is Key: Consider visiting during sunrise or sunset for a magical play of light and shadows that accentuates the natural beauty of the surroundings, though I only recommend this to experienced hikers who know their timing - I wouldn't want to get stuck in the dark on this trail. I'd also consider visiting on a cooler spring day as the heat of summer beating down on you can be brutal. 

3. Respect Nature: Remember to follow Leave No Trace principles. Respect the flora and fauna, and refrain from disturbing the natural habitat.

4. Capture Memories: Don't forget to capture the breathtaking views and the magical moments you encounter along the trail. Looking back on these moments is what brings me the most joy! 

The Boundary Trail on Mount Saint Helens offers an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The 360-degree views, combined with the magical regrowth after the eruption, create an atmosphere that leaves a lasting impression on all who embark on this journey. 

-Blaine Ford


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