Copper Ridge, North Cascades National Park


AndyPorter_CopperRidge_Landscape
Copper Ridge is located in the northern section of the North Cascades National Park, in Washington. To get there from Bellingham you drive east on Highway 542, the Mount Baker Highway, past the town of Glacier and turn left on Forest Road 32, for Hannegan Pass. The road ends at a parking area and here your hike begins. The first 4 miles climb 2,000 ft. up to Hannegan Pass. Along the right are nice views of Nooksack Ridge. CR 7emFrom the pass the trail descends and after 1 mile you reach boundary of North Cascades National Park and the trail junction with the Copper Ridge Trail. CR 6_1em

Any overnight stay in the National Park requires a permit, which you can obtain from the Ranger Station in Glacier. Permits are limited and first come first serve, be sure to get there at the crack of dawn (or even better right when the Ranger Station opens…) to snag a permit. Also, one little known tip is that you can get a permit one day before you start your trip, so if you can arrive and get a permit to camp at Selesia camp the next night then on your first night you can camp at the site just west of Hannegan Pass (which is not in the park, no permit needed).

From the trail junction you head north and up to Copper Ridge. Its another 3 miles until you reach Selesia Camp which is perches out along the ridge commanding fantastic views east towards Whatcom Peak and Mount Challenger Whatcom Peak 1and south towards Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker. CR 9em

No matter which wy you look from here the views are smashing. cr 4em

cr 5em

CR 10em
Continuing the hike north along the ridge (2 miles and 1,000 ft EG) soon brings you to the Copper Ridge Lookout, the highest point along the route commanding a sweeping view in all directions. Copper Ridge Lookout em

CR 4_1The lookout is regularly manned with Park Rangers. Make sure to have your map available to spend time locating peaks all around. Mount Shuksan from Copper Ridge

Arriving at Copper Ridge Lookout North Cascades National Park

After soaking in the sun and views at the look out the trail now traverses over some rocky slopes for another 2 miles as it heads down to Copper Lake. Nestled in a nook along the ridge the lake sports a small island/peninsula offering a wonderful place for a swim. There is an official campground here, the last one before you exit Copper Ridge and plunge down to the Chilliwack. Copper Lake 2

From Copper Lake your ridge hike continues another 5 miles of spectacular views. Waterfalls, meadows and gorgeous vistas abound. CR 2

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Copper Ridge _Panorama1em At about 11 miles from the start of the Copper Ridge Trail (16 miles from the car) the ridge hike ends and the trail plunges down more than 3,000 feet in less than three miles to the Chilliwack River with its sparkling waters and levitating salmon, but that’s a story for another day! copper ridge Panorama1em

7 thoughts on “Copper Ridge, North Cascades National Park

  1. Holy Mackerel. Those are a bunch of unbelievably scenic scenes, you offered a super nice look at the terrain in that area with that collection of images. Is that entry also the way to Whatcom Pass? It has been quite a while since I did my daydreaming and study about that trip, but it’s someplace I want to go to, someday.
    -Jason

    • Hey Jason, Yes, this is the west side approach to Whatcom Pass. Once you hit Hannegan Pass if you head down the Chilliwck a few miles you’ll intersect the Brush Creek Trail and can head up to Whatcom Pass. It’s really a magical place.

  2. Me tomé la molestia de armar un archivo con sus tomas y es extraordinaria las fotos que han publicado. Gracias por permitir conocer un pedazo del mundo.

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