half marathon

August 29, 2020


The Half Marathon consists of a clockwise loop around Coldwater Lake, offering breathtaking views along the entire course. Runners will be treated to panoramic views of Coldwater Lake, a taste of the majestic Mt. Margaret Backcountry, and of course, unique views of the Mount St. Helens blast zone. 

The course involves 11.6 miles of single-track trails and 1.5 miles of pavement. The course has two aid stations.  Expect elevation gain of 2,800ft and loss of 2,800ft.   



  • BIB PICKUP/CHECK-IN: 7:00-8:45AM

  • BRIEFING: 8:50AM at Start Line

  • RACE START: 9:00AM

  • CUT-OFF: 12:00PM at South Coldwater Aid Station


Due to the remote, mountainous nature of the course and significant distance between some aid stations, all race participants must bring capacity for at least 12-20 ounces of fluids/water during the race, which will be verified at race day check-in. A lightweight jacket is also recommended in case of inclement/shifting weather, a common occurrence in the region. 


Click on the map for a high resolution copy. Here is a link to the course gpx data file for use in your navigation app of choice.



There are two aid stations, with the first being hiked in by our enthusiastic and experienced volunteers. Be sure to express your appreciation for their support during the race! All aid stations will be well stocked with water, Tailwind energy drink, Skout Backcountry trail bars, GU energy gels, PB&J sandwiches, soda, various fruit options, chips, gummi bears, a variety of other fare and basic first aid supplies. All Daybreak races are cupless, so be sure to bring your own cup for liquid at aid stations.  

Aid Station Total Distance (mi) To Next Aid (mi) Crew Cutoff
Start 0 5.0 Yes --
#1 - Coldwater Creek 5.0 4.9 No --
#2 - South Coldwater 9.9 3.2 Yes 12:00 PM
Finish 13.1 -- Yes --


Start to Aid Station 1 (Coldwater Creek): Starting from the courtyard of the Science & Learning Center, runners skirt the parking area to thin the group before joining the Elk Bench Trail for a 0.8 mile singletrack descent down to Coldwater Lake and a left turn onto the Lakes Trail. Runners follow the serene, rolling Lakes Trail along the lake shore to Aid Station 1 at mile 5.0. Watch for soaring bald eagles scanning for fish and beavers in their lodge near the upper reaches of the lake.  Overall, this section is very runnable with some brief rocky areas. Be sure to top off your fluids and thank these volunteers for their hike-in effort! Also, did you know Coldwater Lake used to be the Coldwater Creek canyon, but filled into a lake after the creek outlet was dammed by the massive landslide during the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens?!

Aid Station 1 (Coldwater Creek) to Aid Station 2 (South Coldwater): Upon leaving Aid Station 1, runners cross a footbridge over Coldwater Creek and immediately begin a stout 1500’ climb up the Coldwater Trail over two miles. This trail section is a mix of runnable but hilly dirt trail mixed with some steeper rocky sections. This section begins with incredible views up the Coldwater Canyon and its surrounding jagged peaks, followed by sweeping panoramas of Minnie Peak and Coldwater Lake. Upon turning right onto the South Coldwater Trail for rolling scenic trail and a thrilling 2.5-mile descent down to Aid Station 2 at South Coldwater Trailhead. Pause along the way to scan for large herds of elk in open areas below the trail, panoramic views of Johnston Ridge and Mount St. Helens. You’ll also see the start/finish line across Coldwater Lake!

Aid Station 2 (South Coldwater) to Finish: Runners exit the South Coldwater Trailhead onto the westbound road shoulder of Spirit Lake Hwy for 1.2 miles to Coldwater Boat Launch entrance. Runners follow the boat launch road for a quarter mile to the Coldwater Lake shore to rejoin the Lakes Trail for 0.8 miles to the junction with Elk Bench Trail. Turn left onto Elk Bench Trail for one last 0.8 mile, 500’ climb back up to the Science & Learning Center for the race finish!


Crew are welcome South Coldwater Trailhead Aid Station and the Start/Finish area only. Be courteous with parking and sounds levels, as we must not create any complaints from other visitors to the Monument.


There will be no drop bags available.


Our permit does not allow pacers.


See the Daybreak Racing Cancellation Policy.

This event is granted by a Special Use Permit through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.