Explore the most popular nature trips trails near Skykomish with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

On a hot summer day this is a great shady hike through old growth forest. There are some great creek views. There are some areas where tripping over roots or rocks is possible, but in other areas the ground is softly padded with old needles. On a summer Sunday we only saw six other people. There were huckleberries along the way.

7 days ago

Started the trail at Smithbrook Trailhead. Parking lot nearly full on a July afternoon, but the lake was uncrowded. Trail is nicely switchbacked and the elevation that you gain on the way up to the junction with the PCT goes quickly and easily. The lake is spectacular. We had lunch on a large rock situated above the water and could easily see the fish swimming around the logs below. Crystal clear water. Just about a perfect dayhike.

Nice way to cool down walking along the river.

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.

This was such a fun hike. We did the short version that catches up to the PCT. You hit switch backs right away and then get on the PCT for the rest of the way which is nice because you have all of that energy and motivation to get you up the switches and then it levels out and is pretty flat the rest of the way until you do a couple of switches going down to the lake. The lake is gorgeous and pristine. It's clean enough that you could totally drink out of it if you had to but it's always a good idea to use a fitting system of some kind. We used a Bobble water bottle and we're fine. The water is a little cold but after hiking in the hot sun it is a welcomed friend. This lake also features a beach which I haven't seen before at a mountain lake. So if you know of any others that feature a beach let me know! Happy trails!!

A gorgeous trip. My best friend and I started at 9:30am and went up to big heart lake and the one above it and back to the car by 5:30pm with a 1-2min water break every 20min or so and an hour for lunch and swimming. The lakes were definitely very cold but bearable and felt great to ice sore feet. Bring a hat because for a lot of the hike your arms and face are exposed in the sun while you hike thru gorgeous wildflowers. A very very well maintained trail. Lots of campsites and we passed three trail workers on our way who said they were so bored because they had nothing to do haha. A wonderful day trip. The issue was the bugs. I'm not a complainer but the upper lakes have serious fly, hornet and mosquitoes, however I wasn't bit once by anything with zero bug repellant on me. Mainly my ears got attacked by that annoying thing flies do. If you're moving, nothing bothers you but as soon as you stop they swarm. Still, neither of us were bit. Just bring a gallon of spray. Don't let that keep you from the hike though! It was gorgeous.

Okay, so between Alltrails and WTA the "difficulty" of the trail from West Fork Foss is different. WTA I would say is a little more accurate between Miles and Difficulty on a lot of trail comparisons. I highly suggest you look at both to get an idea of what you're getting into.

With that said: We decided to go the Malachite Lake Trail, instead of continuing to Copper Lake. We will make another trip to Copper, but with the heat today and just curiosity we decided to take the fork Right instead of slightly left. After many many rocky switch backs, roots and more rocks, that a nearly staring up bolder climb for 230 feet, you reach an amazingly beautiful... Alpine Lake.

This water is crystal blue/ clear and its just breath taking. Well worth the beat up on my knee (I have had my ACL operated on twice). In all, we went 11 miles RT, after a night of camping up there the bugs were just to much. The lake felt great after such a hot Sunday/ Monday and my gosh the trout just thrive up there!! The snow banks just makes you realize how high in elevation you truly!

One thing to note, WEAR PROPER FOOTWEAR!! I can't tell you enough how rocky this hike is after Trout Lake.

The lake is worth the torture but as your going up the switch backs don't fail to look up every once in a while and taking in what mother nature has gifted us... there is some amazing waterfalls throughout the hike and I saw a few people not even realize it because they were more worried on the rocks.

This is not kid friendly pass Trout Lake, I saw some dogs coming up and I am not exactly sure I would bring my pups up in that kind of heat with all those rocks and how HOT they were from soaking in the sun!!

this could be stop and relax kind of trail, i would say. well maintained. I thought i was going to stop and continue my Monday adventure but i stayed longer than i planned because watching and listening while the water ranging is always makes me feel good. you should stop by if you're around.

Beautiful hike to a pretty lake. Did this with our two small kids (4 and 2), carried the toddler but the four year old had a blast and hiked most of it.

Fun bridge to cross and pretty waterfall on a mountainside.

HIked it on July 21. No snow on the trail at any point. Beautiful hike and trail. Copper Lake is beautiful with a backdrop of mountains with some snow.

According to Strava (on my phone) the hike was around 10 miles roundtrip (or 5 miles one way) to Copper Lake and 3000' vertical. We hike pretty fast and took us 2h to get to Copper Lake and a little less time to get down.

on Iron Goat Trail

27 days ago

I would consider easy not moderate trail, take repellent the mosquitos on the trail are relentless. Great history, not crowded and perfect for a fun easy hike.

30 days ago

Very nice hike. Trail is still fairly muddy and plenty of snow, but completely doable. Mosquitoes are out, but spray took care of them no problem. There was a decent amount of traffic. Unfortunately, a few kids were at the lake, which were quite loud and could have done without that. Views are stunning though. I added Mt McCausland to the hike, which ended up a 8 miles exactly.

Went with some buddies for a couple days. Hiked in friday evening for a quick camp set up. Got up mid morning Saturday and hiked up to Copper Lake took some pool floats and floated/fished for a couple hours. Moved on to Little Heart hit the peak in between little and big but one buddy was worse for wear so we turned back and made camp back by Copper.

Bug netting currently is a must they get quite thick in areas. There is a longer stretch in between Trout and Copper Lake that is exposed to the sun so some refill water often(we used sawyer squeeze filters) and remember sunscreen.

Overall the beauty and experience is worth the trip Enjoy!

We did this hike but from Smithbrook Trail/Stevens Pass. It was about 7 miles round trip, easy moderate level. Had lunch at the lake which was stunning. Only downside was the bugs were out and we got eaten alive despite having on bug spray.

1 month ago


Pretty scenery and secluded. My dog was lost on it for a day!

Only went as far as Copper Lake. Sign says 4 miles - I say 5. Beautiful hike though. Copper lake was so beautiful- almost surreal. I suggest mosquito netting/bug deterrent though.

Beautiful mountain scenery. Old train tunnels are fun and interpretive signage is nice.

The trail was beautiful. Lots of stairs, roots, and rocks, as well as a couple big downed trees I had to climb over made this more of a slow hike than the run I’d planned to do. I recommend bringing water shoes/sandals for the river crossing.

1 month ago

I love this trail...We hiked it last September and the lake is absolutely stunning! We ate lunch and rested by the lake before heading back. We will definitely go again this year. :)

Fun hike, lots of fun caves to explore, also several waterfalls through the hike. Family Friendly, good for all skill types. Upper trail a bit harder then lower trail

Hiked in June 30th, no snow until we got to Malachite Lake and you couldn’t see the trail. Had to make our way through bushes and trees to find a spot to put our tent. It was super windy and rainy so be prepared! I’ll be it gorgeous on a sunny day though!

love this trail , have been there 2 times, but going back just to encourage other people to visit there .

Trail in good condition; kudos to the volunteer WTA crew stabilizing the trail on the way to Bear Lake. Cool and cloudy day was perfect for a long day hike. Stream crossing at 4.3 miles is running fast and about knee deep. Made it to Bear Lake before needing to turn around. Bugs were annoying but not terrible. Can't wait to get back to finish.

1 month ago

great hike. I parked at the lower trailhead and climbed the switch backs up to the trail and on to Wellington. my fitness app said 9 miles round trip and 20k steps but if you want to see all the cool stuff without the hike then there is a trailhead parking area at Wellington. lots of cottonwood floating around and mosquitoes in the trees there was plenty of water also.

Great hike. Lots of snow still at the top. Well worth the hike up.

2 months ago

It’s not a difficult trail, there is a lot natural beauty and a little bit of the history about the Great Northern Railway.

Very easy but a pleasant stop if you've been driving a while and need a rest. Beautiful view of the falls.

Easy access to the waterfalls and stream. The falls was breathtaking.

Good for backpacking. Brought the doggo, had a great time!

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