The Copper Creek Trail to Copper Lake

MODERATE 51 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

The Copper Creek Trail to Copper Lake is a 12 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Crested Butte, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
12.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,431 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

This hike starts at the Judd Falls trailhead at Gothic Rd. It is a pretty forest hike that opens up in spots along Copper Creek to Copper Lake. The elevation gains are mild until the last few hundred yards.

hiking
13 days ago

What an amazing hike! This was very challenging yet very rewarding once you finally get to the lake.
There is a lower parking lot which is where most folks park. Getting up to the trail head is not that daunting and I could have made it in my Forester(or any vehicle with 8 inches or more of clearance). Compared to the drive up to Grays and Torreys, the road up to there is a cake walk.
The overall trip is 12 miles as listed here but there is a sign about a mile in that says the lake is 4 miles away. The last 2 miles of this hike is where the incline sets in(and you ascend over 1k ft) while the first 4 miles are fairly flat as you go through the valley.
Overall, this hike is manageable and the lake itself is beautiful. It is covered most of the way with a few river crossings that you do not need to remove your shoes for. It would be amazing to camp at one of the spots right next to the lake and have the views looking over the valley be the first thing you see in the morning

13 days ago

Stunning and not too hard at all. But rocky in parts

hiking
19 days ago

We loved this hike. It wasn’t too bad at all. The road getting up to here after Judd Falls parking lot is rough and you should have AWD/4WD and some clearance. The incline up isn’t too bad. The last mile or so is steeper but not too bad. When you get to the lake make sure you hike up the rock in the center of the lake for some amazing views! One of the best hikes I have ever taken!

1 month ago

Beautiful views and hike is relatively easy until the last mile or so which is up and up. But so worth it!

1 month ago

The last mile is very challenging but worth the effort! Beautiful wildflowers, wild life and nice paths. Creek crossing an adventure! We weren't able to keep our feet dry! Unable to stay long at the top due to thunderstorm. Definitely recommend!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing views, wild flowers all over, but the last mile before reaching the lake was quite difficult.

1 month ago

Long slow incline followed by a good mile rocky climb. Be ready to get your feet wet a few times as the trail crosses Copper Creek a lot. No bikes allowed and only saw a handful of people. The lower area is full of wildflowers, pine, and deer. Well maintained wide trail with a few fallen trees. The lake has a great alpine lunch spot. Wanted to continue to Maroon Pass but rain and a touch of snow swept in. Wonderful Colorado trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike, awesome views! Good to know there are creeks you have to cross so be prepared with shoes that can get wet or taken off! We just walked through in our socks and shoes, not as bad as it sounds haha.

2 months ago

Incredible views! The snow is gone. It doesn't get much better!

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing hike with spectacular views. This was a great one for the start of summer season. It is fairly long but not steep. The last mile ish is where you gain a majority of the elevation. Note that at this time, the last mile is almost all snow. We were still fine in just hiking boots but it is starting the melt. The lake was almost all frozen but insanely beautiful

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful sunny and warm day. The views are just the best along the stream with 13,500 ft mts on either side of you. Quarter of the aspen trees had turned yellow. The trail is very much open to the sunshine and views of the mountains. As you head in on the trail, you have more pines along the route. The trail takes the hiker to high pines and steep incline compared to the trail before it. At this point the hiker will be at around 10,800 ft . Had no idea there was a lake if I continued. I was tired and turned back. Maybe I will come back next year and go see the lake.

11 months ago

Great hike two for one Judd Falls & Copper Lake.

11 months ago

I loved this hike! Gorgeous views. The steep forest incline gives way to a quintessential Colorado mountain lake, where my dog caught a salmon!

hiking
Saturday, August 19, 2017

You have to go .6 to Judd Falls so take that mileage into account. The lake is amazing! The last 1.5 is quiet rough, very rocky and uphill but it's really only that last bit that is uphill.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Best wildflowers! So beautiful. Vistas are amazing.

hiking
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Don't believe the sign at the upper parking trail head. It says 4, but it's almost 5 miles. And the last mile is over 800 feet of elevation..

It's a good day hike, but just be prepared for that last 45 minute push.

But it's worth it when you finally get there.

From the bottom parking lot, the full hike is closer to 11 miles.

trail running
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Don't make the mistake I did. At the place along the trail where you get wilderness permits there is a big sign saying Copper Lake Trail which is angled so that it looks as though you should follow a trail that goes behind the sign. The positioning of this sign is poor, and caused me to go a long way off course. Otherwise a really enjoyable hike and I think the creek crossings are a bonus for cooling the feet.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

in mid-july this hike has good wildflowers around mile two in the open Meadows and the reward is the high mountain lake at the end very nice hike!

hiking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

Great hike! but be sure to bring water shoes & maybe poles - you will have to cross 5 streams 4 of which are well over your hiking boots & moving fast. But it is beautiful! & the wildflowers are fabulous!

backpacking
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

We hiked this trail on 6/23/17 and had a great time. We hiking up in the late afternoon to backpack by the lake which was very pretty. The trail was really easy until the last mile or so when it gets steeper. There was a decent amount of snow around the lake and most of the camp sites were still buried. There are at least 3 river crossings on this hike so be ready to get your feet wet. (Either bring water shoes for the crossings, or accept that your shoes are going to get wet) The crossings are easier if you do them earlier in the day since the snow melt hasn't picked up yet.

hiking
Monday, June 19, 2017

Tried to hike this trail, but could not complete. At first when we came to the creek we went the wrong way, because it was not clear that the creek should be crossed, and there was a path leading (as we later understood) to the dead end. But we had a chance to see the bear though. When returned to the creek we could not pass because it was wide and full, so we had to turn back. Lovely views and enjoyable hike nevertheless.

hiking
Friday, June 16, 2017

Really gorgeous. Went at the end of May and it was still covered in snow. Wait until July for wildflowers.

hiking
Saturday, June 10, 2017

Very scenic easy hike, however at the time we did it the creek crossing the path around 2 miles out from the falls was running very high and fast, so it was not possible to continue to the lake. There is a deer trail veering left that disappears after going through a thicket - don't be fooled. Still a very enjoyable if shortened trip.

hiking
Sunday, October 16, 2016

This is a great hike especially for those of us from Mississippi needing a day hike to acclimate. We started at the Judd Falls trailhead at Gothic Rd. with beautiful, warm fall weather and lots of sunshine. Sorry we were too late to see the Aspens turning as this leg would have been spectacular! Judd Falls meets Copper Creek so we continued on all the way to Copper Lake. It is a pretty forest hike that opens up in spots along Copper Creek to Copper Lake. The elevation gains are mild until the last few hundred yards.

The actual marked trail departs a bit from the AllTrails map I downloaded. The main trail does not bear left at about 10,980ft. towards the 5 lakes on the map. It actually continues straight to Copper Lake at around 11,480ft. so you can add another 500ft to the noted elevation gain.

hiking
Monday, March 24, 2014

This trail goes up a Valley to Copper Lake and on over East Maroon Pass,or before the lake there is a fork that goes to Triangle Pass. We backpacked to Copper Lake, then the next day we hiked over East Maroon Pass, then hiked to Copper Pass and over,then from there we hiked to Triangle Pass. From Triangle Pass we hiked back down to Copper Lake. A great day hike, and the scenery was awesome!

5 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

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23 days ago

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