DISTANCE
13.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,064 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

beach

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

hiking
7 days ago

Copper Lake is 7.3 miles from the trailhead.

I have no idea where people are getting this incorrect milage data from, but they are wrong (and strava is notoriously inaccurate). I just did this hike with TWO different GPS devices and both read over 7miles. Both times, in and out. (that's 4 different recordings resulting in the same data...)

That means the hike is 14.6 miles round trip.

The sign also says Trout lake is 1.5mi. It's 2 miles.

Due to this poor/incorrect info we were only able to make it to Copper Lake.

Over 4miles are nothing but switchbacks, and they are not easy. They start about .3miles past Trout Lake and continue all the way to Copper Lake.

The switchbacks have several stretches with zero shade which means direct sunlight for most of the day. There are also several sections of the switchbacks with overgrown plants. You will get smacked in the face and scratch your ankles for about 2 miles. Several patches have loose rocks and loose sand/dirt with drop offs bordering them. But as an acrophobic, it wasn't too bad. I did hurt my knee and ankle on the switch backs. Be careful.

Make no mistake, this is NOT a moderate trail. This is quite strenuous. Especially if you are backpacking with intent to camp. Anything over a 30lbs backpack will make this hike quite tough.

The bugs were also relentless. Bug spray did little to help, so I would strongly suggest a bug net for your head, especially if you are camping. Because it will be miserable.

Copper Lake itself is also very dull. Sure the water is clear... so is Trout Lake... so is every lake in the region. There are very few places to actually access the water (ie swimming, fishing, camping, even getting water for cooking). I've been to many, MANY, more impressive lakes that did not require this level of effort to get to. Honestly... Trout Lake is better than Copper Lake.

There are a few decent viewpoints, one overlooking Trout Lake from the switchbacks, and another slightly further up of the valley below.

I also did this with my dog. She did just fine, but has some sore paws after it all. There is a lot of rock/gravel terrain. Be sure to bring water for them. AND KEEP YOUR DOGS ON A LEASH! I saw so many dogs of leash. Seriously it's not only illegal to have your dog off leash, it's infuriating. It doesn't matter if your dog is friendly or well behaved. You have no idea how it will interact with other dogs or people, or how they will interact with your dog.

You are ruining the experience for others when you ignore rules/laws/trail etiquette.

All things considered: the incorrect info about the trail, the endless switchbacks, the bugs, and a mediocre lake, I'd say just skip this hike.