North Cascades National Park

Chilliwach River-Copper Ridge Trail

Summary
The Chilliwack River and Copper Ridge trail system provide trail access to the remote northwestern park area. It is noted for its scenic subalpine meadows on Copper Ridge, and for the 18.5 mile (30 km) route that follows the Chilliwack River from its source near Hannegan Pass to Chilliwack Lake in Canada.

Access
The trailhead is located at the east end of Hannegan Road (USFS #32), reached via Mt. Baker Highway (SR 542). Eight and a half miles (13.7 km) past the town of Glacier, turn left onto USFS Road #32, and follow this road 5.5 miles (8.9 km) to the end. The required backcountry permit for overnight stays in the park can be obtained at the joint National Park Service-US Forest Service Public Service Center in Glacier. The required Forest Service Northwest Forest Pass may be purchased at any ranger station.

Boundary Camp
From Hannegan Trailhead (elevation 3100', or 940 m) the trail climbs through silver fir stands and avalanche clearings to Hannegan Pass at 4500' (1370 m). Views of Ruth Mountain dominate this area. From the pass, the trail descends to the headwaters of the Chilliwack River and Boundary Camp, located just inside the national park boundary. Boundary Camp is in a subalpine area and fires are not permitted. Here the trail splits, with one fork heading up to Copper Ridge and the other continuing down the Chilliwack Valley.

Copper Ridge
The trail to Copper Ridge passes through 7 miles (11 km) of subalpine meadows with unobstructed views of the North Cascades mountains. Gaining the ridge from Boundary Camp requires a climb of 900' in 2 miles (300 m in 3 km). Camping on the ridge is restricted to 3 small designated campsites: Silesia Camp and Egg Lake, west of the lookout, and Copper Lake to the east of the lookout. Composting toilets are available at all three sites. The ridge trail eventually drops to the valley floor again, joining the Chilliwack River Trail near Indian Creek Camp. This is a rigorous 2400', 5 mile descent (730 m in 8 km).

Revegetation on Copper Ridge
Campfires are not allowed anywhere on the ridge because of the extremely delicate nature of the plants and soils. You may notice a coarse netting material covering several areas around Egg and Copper Lakes. This material has been placed in areas severely damaged by overuse in the past, and is helping natural plant cover to return to these areas. It is very important that you do not walk on or otherwise disturb the covered areas.

Chilliwack Valley
Below Boundary Camp the Chilliwack River Trail drops steadily 2.5 miles (4 km) to the Copper Creek hiker and stock camps. U.S. Cabin hiker and stock camps are located another 2 miles (3 km) past Copper Creek. A mile (1.6 km) past these camps is the Chilliwack River crossing. During late July and August the river is often less than knee deep, and can be forded. A cable car crossing is available for the use of hikers if the water is too high.  Further down the Chilliwack River Trail are Indian Creek, Bear Creek, and Little Chilliwack camps, the latter being a mere mile (1.6 km) from the US-Canadian border.

Brush Creek to Ross Lake
The trail up Brush Creek to Whatcom Pass is located 7 miles (11 km) from Boundary Camp, and is just east of the Chilliwack River crossing. Graybeal Camp is located 2 miles (3 km) up the valley, and Whatcom Camp is just before the pass, 5 miles (8 km) from the trail junction. From here hikers can continue over the pass to Ross Lake via the Little Beaver or Big Beaver drainages. There are a number of campsites along both routes. A composting toilet is available during summer at Whatcom Camp.

Permits/Information
Pets and firearms are prohibited in the National Park. Fires are allowed only at lower elevation camps where a fire grate is provided. Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Permits and information are available at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount (360-873-4500 ext. 39) or at the Glacier Public Service Center (360-599-2714). Rangers have maps and current information to assist you in planning a safe and rewarding trip.

 

 

 

For Additional Information Contact:

North Cascades National Park
2105 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-9394
(360) 856-5700

 

For more information visit the National Park Service website