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Elk Bench

South Cascades


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


Gain: 600 ft.
Highest Point: 3100 ft.


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WTA worked here: 2019

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Monument Fee

This short trail is located near Coldwater Lake. With sweeping views of Coldwater Lake from the top, hikers gradually descend to a much more up-close lake experience, as the finish at a junction midway up the Lakes Trail. From this junction, visitors can turn left and walk a short ways up the Lakes Trail, where a small beach is the perfect place to enjoy the lake from.

If interested, it's possible to continue on the Lakes Trail for many miles, heading deep into the Mount Margaret backcountry. But you'll need a permit to camp overnight. Otherwise, simply turn around and head back uphill along the Elk Bench trail, back to those stunning views. 

It is also possible to access this trail by starting from the Lakes Trail trailhead, though this approach extends your hike considerably.


Elk Bench

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.2973, -122.2666 Open map in new window


South Cascades -- Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

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Getting There

From Castle Rock, drive east on Highway 504 for 42 miles to the Science and Learning Center, just 10 miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Note that the Science and Learning Center is closed to the public until November 2019.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Monument Fee

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Elk Bench

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