The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens caused all sorts of drainage problems in the Toutle River basin. Part of the landslide which occured during the eruption blocked the natural path of Coldwater Creek, resulting in a large lake being impounded behind a natural dam. As the area recovered and measures were taken to ensure there would be no cataclysmic flooding as a result of instability in any of the new water features, the Army Corp of Engineers had to basically dig an outlet channel for Coldwater Creek to prevent the valley from filling up behind the unstable topsoils and detritus from the landslide. In this regard, Coldwater Falls could be considered a man made waterfall. I don't believe the cliffs to be deliberately blasted, but it appears that the creek has scoured the soil away for the last 20+ years and revealed the pre-existing bedrock where the falls now occur, dropping 74 feet in three steps. Coupled with Coldwater Lake, a tunnel was built to drain Spirit Lake into Coldwater Creek to prevent it from growing too large and overtopping the debris plain below St Helens. This results in Coldwater Creek forming approximately half of the volume of the Toutle River at this point and as such the falls flow with vigor all year long.
- Coldwater Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall.
Coldwater Falls are found within Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument along Highway 504 near Coldwater Lake. Follow signs for Mount St. Helens from Interstate 5 and proceed to the now closed Coldwater Ridge Visitors Center. Following signs towards the Johnston Ridge Visitors Center, follow the main road an additional 2 miles down the hill to the Hummocks Trailhead and park. Walk back to the bridge over Coldwater Creek where you can look downstream to the crest of the falls. Viewing the falls requires scrambling down the slope on the west side of the bridge and walking downstream in grassy meadows for about 300 feet. Its fairly easy travel but there is no established path and the terrain is fairly uneven.