Foss Lakes, West Fork Foss River
Aug 16, 2009
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: West Fork Foss River and Lakes
- Region: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
- Agency: Skykomish Ranger District
- Trails: West Fork Foss River (#1064)
- Avg Rating: 3.62
- Be Aware Of
- Bridge out
The road to the trailhead is straightforward to follow--just make sure to take the left at the 4 mile turnoff to the West Fork Foss Lake trailhead. The road condition is rather bad with lots of potholes--it does not seem to have been graded this summer.
The first 1/2 mile is on a dry rockbed--which is hard on the feet on the return trip.
The rains last winter have expanded the area to cross where the bridge washed out. There are 3 places to cross. The safest is the last option--furthest from the trailhead. Look for the pinktape. Cross the first water stream. Then take the pinktapped log on the left. I crossed the middle crossing and my boot hit the water.
When to start the day hike depends on what your target lake is. It took 45 min to Trout Lake, 3 1/4 hours to Copper Lake, 4 hours to Little Heart, 5 + to Big Heart--probably the furthest you want to go on just a day hike. If Big Heart Lake is your target, get to the trailhead by 9 AM.
The rains have battered the wood bridge just below Copper Lake. Two posts and three crossbeams have been knocked out. The bridge still seems pretty solid.
If you try this hike during a heat wave, be sure to bring lots of water. The 2 miles 2000 feet rise from Trout to Copper Lake is often in the sun, and the combination of grade and open air particularly over rockpiles can be hard.
To me, the lake waters all look the same. Copper Lake is not red, but blue-green. To me, the fun in the trip are the falls, not the lakes. Big Heart Falls is pretty dramatic for Wa St waterfalls--rated one of the top 25. A sidetrip to Malachite Falls on the way to Copper Lake is worth it.
Be sure to get back to the River Crossing while it is still daylight. Since the river is not glacier fed, the water does not rise by sunset. But it's still a bit tricky to cross in the dark--even with lamps.