Copper Ridge Loop is a 30-ish-mile lollipop loop in the North Cascades.
Experience the variety offered by the North Cascades: high mountain ridges with spectacular views, a remote river valley, and even a self-propelled cable car river crossing.
Start out from the popular Hannegan Pass trailhead, climbing gently for 3.7 miles to a junction for Hannegan Camp. Water is available from a creek just outside of camp, a short distance from the trail.
At 4.2 miles is Hannegan Pass and a junction to a side trail up Hannegan Peak. For stunning views into the North Cascades National Park, ascend the peak, gaining 1100 feet over 1.1 miles.
From the pass, the trail drops through forest and across talus to the boundary of the National Park at a junction for Boundary Camp, 5.1 miles from the trailhead. Campsites here are dusty and water is available only via a short but steep climber’s trail.
Go left at the junction, on a narrowing and steepening trail up to Copper Ridge. Here and on the remainder of the loop, the trail may be brushy and overgrown, often with blueberry bushes.
At 8.1 miles is Silesia camp with no water source; at 8.2 miles is the junction to Egg Lake, where both water and camps can be found 0.3 mile below.
From the Egg Lake junction, climb the ridge above the lake, and on to some of the best views, approaching the Copper Mountain Lookout at 9.9 miles, elevation 6260 feet.
Next is the big drop - from the high point of this loop to the low point. At 11.2 miles is Copper Lake and camps. A half mile beyond is a small waterfall and the last reliable water until 17.4 miles from the trailhead, where the trail crosses a small stream. At 17.9 miles is the low point, elevation 2225'. Ford the Chilliwack River, then follow the flagged route 100 yards to the ford of Indian Creek. On the opposite shore, go right to Indian Creek Camp at 19 miles. Immediately thereafter, cross Indian Creek on a suspension bridge and climb 400 feet to the Brush Creek Trail junction at 21.8 miles.
Beyond the Brush Creek junction, 22.6 miles from the trailhead, bypass the horse ford to get to the cable car crossing. At 22.9 miles, pull yourself across the Chilliwack in a small 2-seater cable car. The pull rope is rough and requires some strength; gloves are advised.
After the cable car crossing, climb gently past U.S. Cabin Camp at 23.6 miles, then to Copper Creek Camps at 26.1. Climb steeply back up to the park boundary and Boundary Camp at 28.5 miles to complete the loop portion. Retrace your steps over Hannegan Pass and down the final 5.1 miles to the trailhead.
Sometime between September 12-16 2018 (most likely on Sept 15), I will run the Copper Ridge Loop (either CW or CCW) in an attempt to establish a FKT. I will run with a Garmin Fenix 5 and a Strava beacon-enabled iPhone for live tracking (provided there is cell phone reception).
I added this route to this site, so no times are available. From what I can find online, the fastest time for this loop (with verifiable GPS) is on Strava and done by Maxim Kazitov (https://www.strava.com/athletes/3113924) on August 6th 2016 with a time of 10:58:23 (https://www.strava.com/activities/667087067/segments/16389415206). You can find a nice report by Maxim here http://mvkazit.blogspot.com/2016/08/copper-ridge-loop-north-cascades.ht…
The fastest female time was by Elizabeth Kleynhans on August 9th, 2014 with a time of 14:38:16.
There also is another group that reports a recorded Funnest Known Time of 10 hours (https://jordanmaki.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/monday-funday-3-fukt-on-cop…), though no GPS file was made available to verify the run or time.
Thanks Justin for posting this route here for tracking FKTs. It had me motivated to do the route again, and introduce Gabor to the Mt. Baker wilderness.
We set off from Vancouver at 3:30 am on July 28, 2019, to run the Copper Ridge Loop in the clockwise direction. Two of us, unsupported. Having checked the FKT web page earlier in the week (prior to when the 2019-07-20 run was posted), our time to beat was Justin's 9h 6m.
We started running at 6:14 am on a chilli but clear morning. Took lots of photographs, enjoyed the ridge. Got our feet wet crossing the rivers. I decided to pick up the pace for the last 20 km and finished in about 30 minutes less than Justin's time. 8:38 hrs. I was happy: what I thought was my first FKT! Here is my Strava data and photographs.
Now I see there were several other FKTs prior to our trip:
- Greg Talpey's 7:32 hrs in September 2018
- Rachel Drake and Tyler Green's 7:53 hrs in July 2019
Congrats to the fast runners!
It's worth noting these Strava candidates for the FKT. Due to the nature of the route, I would suspect they were unsupported.
- Wyatt Mullen; 7h04m; https://www.strava.com/activities/4012936304/overview (likely solo due to trip report language)
- Andrea Scott, Mia Tarte, Meredith; 9h51m21s; https://www.strava.com/activities/3984586509/overview
- Christie Mosley; 10h39m23s; https://www.strava.com/activities/3989955138/overview (with a detour to Hannegan Peak!)