You are here: Home Find a Hike Hiking Guide Copper Lake

Copper Lake

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Recent Trip Reports

Hiked here recently? Submit a trip report!
There are 8 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Copper Lake, Chilliwack River, Copper Ridge — Aug 18, 2013 — Scotty Railton
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Fall foliage | Ripe berries
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | No water source
Expand report text Hide report text
The Copper Ridge Loop is a classic. I knocked this out with some friends in a very full day, coverin...
The Copper Ridge Loop is a classic. I knocked this out with some friends in a very full day, covering the 36 miles or so with a mix of hiking and running. We started around 7 AM and finished right at dark, with breaks at significant points. We went clockwise, in hopes of getting the hardest climbs done early.

The trail is clear of snow all the way around, and is reasonably brush free as well, even out by Indian Creek. Plenty of folks were out with backpacks on the Ridge up to the Lookout, perhaps since Highway 20 was closed this weekend. The Lookout was open--we got to check out a number of things with the ranger (e.g. lightning stool, weather devices). The views from the Ridge are spectacular--on a clearer day, they would've even been more impressive, I'm sure, but it was all good.

Wildflowers are in full bloom--maybe a week past peaking, but it depends on the section of trail. I noted most of the common alpine varieties, sometimes in abundance--fireweed, lupine, heather, astors, indian paintbrush, astors, etc. Beautiful.

Copper Lake after the Lookout magical, cobalt blue with its nice little peninsula. The switchback descent here is special--with every turn, the lake seemed to change color a bit, and look more impressive.

Past there, the ridge just kept going, very pleasantly, with that still, quiet air that you find above the treeline in the far backcountry. Along with the great views, there are some remarkable white boulder fields past the lookout. There was a fine peekaboo view of Chilliwack Lake in Canada on the descent down the ridge. There are not a lot of water sources for quite some way past Copper Lake. The descent from there is pretty steady, through the forest--it wore on the quads going down, and was often too rooty to go too fast, but we made good enough time, after all the earlier climbing.

Highlight of the day for me: the sockeye are running now in the Chilliwack and Indian Creek. Big red and green ones, in shallow, crystal clear water. Magical. We did two river fords of 30 yards or so each, across each stream. I'm sure the bear are eating good, b/w these and the berries that are out in force. Also, there were two short, beautiful river fords. Here, five miles south of Canada, the trail feels most remote--we didn't see anyone for quite some time.

The final 10 miles or so included groves of old growth cedar--the really big ones--plus a jangly bridge, and a very cool cable car ride across the river. The final ascent to Hannegan Pass was a slog for me, but we made the car before nightfall. Next time- I'll probably take it slower, backpack, and camp up high and out towards the northern end.
Read full report
West Fork Foss River and Lakes, Copper Lake — Jul 05, 2013 — bradoslovich
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Fall foliage | Ripe berries
Expand report text Hide report text
This is one of the best hikes I have been on in the Alpine Lake Wilderness. My wife, dogs and I hit...
This is one of the best hikes I have been on in the Alpine Lake Wilderness. My wife, dogs and I hit the trail about noon. The weather was perfect, nice and cool. The trail to Trout Lake is fairly easy and there has been a lot of trail maintenance done as it was nothing like it was described. Once you get past Trout Lake, the hike has much more elevation gain. There are two old growth trees that we saw along the way that are HUGE. A few nice views of waterfalls. The wildflowers were in full bloom and smelled amazing. We got to the lake about 4pm, found a nice rock shelf to eat lunch on, let the dogs swim and have a few beers. The lake is beautiful!! We talked to a few backpackers that made it to Little Heart with little snow and said the snow was patchy going into Big Heart. We were back down to the car by 6:30pm. Now get out there and enjoy the great outdoors ;).
Read full report
Copper Lake — Aug 09, 2012 — Tuoichen
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Bugs
Expand report text Hide report text
The trail to Cooper and Malachite Lakes is in good shape, new big bridge near trailhead, lots of tra...
The trail to Cooper and Malachite Lakes is in good shape, new big bridge near trailhead, lots of trail maintenance. Be aware though that this trail is rather rocky and rooty, has lots of BIG steps, is ankle- and knee-twisting, and hard on old legs with replaced joints (alas!). It's a workout for aging ordinary mortals.

Not too many people during the workweek... Bugs (flies & mosquitoes) were minor...

There were still quite a few different kinds of wildflowers in the forest including one very red pine sap (see photo). Butterflies, too, see the female Claudius parnassian. Frogs at Malachite Lake.
Read full report with photos
Copper Lake #1064 — Aug 28, 2007 — WanderWimin
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Bridge out | Washouts
Expand report text Hide report text
On our late-August hike up the West Fork of the Foss River to Copper Lake, no copper was spotted - b...

On our late-August hike up the West Fork of the Foss River to Copper Lake, no copper was spotted - but mushrooms in varying stages, the last of the huckleberries, and tadpoles hoping to make it to frog-dom by the end of summer were in abundance.

A sign at the trailhead confirmed our suspicions that the trail had suffered mightily in last winter's storms; it warned of the bridgeless river crossing in 1/2 mile, and advised that only experienced hikers attempt the trail. We paused a moment to consider, then recalled that, among the five of us, we had well over a hundred years of hiking experience - so we headed out.

Yes, for that first 1/2 mile, the warnings were apt. A dry, boulder-strewn creekbed where the trail once was, followed by blowdown. The river was low enough to ford comfortably, however. We all clambered down the bank. Judy braved the big log, Marcia found a low-level crossing on the rocks. A few minutes of sniffing about to pick up boot tracks on the other side. A debate about the significance of the multiple cairns. (On the way back, we discovered that a reliable line of cairns led to a decent crossing at the site of the washed-out former bridge, about 25 yards upstream from our crossing spot.)

But the rest of the trail, past Trout Lake to Copper, was surprisingly hikable. Some uncleared blowdown, but not bad. And none of the crowds noted by Harvey and Ira in the 2001 edition. In fact, we saw no one on the trail at all. Even though tons of rock obviously washed down into the valley last winter, the gradient of the upper part of the trail did not decrease by even a smidgeon. The last 2+ miles gain 2000' or so in elevation -- but views of the waterfall and its lovely background sounds provide welcome distraction.

At Copper Lake, surprise!. a family with two brave, cute little girls was gathering up their gear for the trek out. And a pair of young women strolled by as we stopped for lunch, extolling the benefits of a dip in the lake. Soon, however, we found ourselves enjoying the beauty of the place all alone, watching small fish break the surface of the clear water and enjoying the warmth of the big angular boulders.

Our mantra is that ""every day in the mountains is a good day,"" and this was indeed a good day.

WanderWimin

Read full report
Copper lake — Jun 05, 2005 — A&Eteam
Day hike
Expand report text Hide report text
The weather was not so great being how it was raining on us the whole time but the hike was great! ...

The weather was not so great being how it was raining on us the whole time but the hike was great! The trail work that had been done looked great. There was no snow all the way to Little Heart Lake. After talking to some other people on the trail they mentioned there was patches of snow on the way to Big Heart Lake. The waterfalls were looking spectacular. Over all it was a good hike and was nice to be able to get up and not have to posthole in the snow.

Read full report
Location
North Cascades

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Document Actions
  • Print this
  • Share
Get the Guidebooks

Mountaineers three booksSelect content from The Mountaineers Books' guidebooks is featured in this Hiking Guide. Sales of the books from this website help protect and maintain trails.

> Shop Now

More hikes » Hike of the Week
Diablo Lake Trail (Apr 17)

Diablo Lake

North Cascades

Follow the Diablo Lake Trail up and across talus slopes on the flanks of Sourdough Mountain to impressive cascading waterfalls and stunning views. This hike in the North Cascades Institute's backyard makes a great option for an early season hike in stunning North Cascades National Park, much of which is inaccessible during the winter and spring.

Get Trail News

Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking news, events, gear reviews and more.

What's Happening
Trails and Ales - Spokane 2014 Apr 22, 2014 Meet fellow hikers and raise a glass for trails!
GiveBIG 2013 May 06, 2014 Donate to WTA during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event and grow your impact on trails!
Hiker Potluck in Vancouver May 28, 2014 Come out for an evening of great food, meet other hikers and learn what is happening on trails near you.
More »