Distance: 8 miles out and back Great for: Hike, Run, Backpack
Elevation Gain: 2,355 feet High Point: 6,680 feet
Parking pass needed: None
Trail Overview: There are two starting points to get to Copper Pass. The more common one is from the Twisp River area. The route I love is from the North Cascades Highway. After leaving the highway and walking through the trees for just over a mile, you pop out high on the hillsides in a glacial carved valley. From this point, you’ll hardly see a tree and the views are fantastic. You’ll look up towards the pass, back towards the Cascades, and at the hillsides all around you. The trail will head all the way up this valley to its genesis at narrow Copper Pass, where you can look down into the Twisp River Valley. This route is especially good in the fall when the grasses are golden and the blueberry bushes are blushed with red. Something to note, this route includes an unofficial trail that locals have termed the “Secret Trail.” It is represented by dotted lines on the map not because it is hard to follow (it is not), but rather because it is just a little local trail that goes over hill and dale. And as a bonus, when the crowds are at some of the more popular trails, you’ll probably have this place all to yourself.
Getting there: From the 4-way stop in downtown Winthrop, head west on highway 20 for 32.3 miles. There is no parking lot here, but rather, just a wide spot on the right hand side of the road. On the left hand side is mile marker 160. The trail starts right across the highway from your car, just before the guardrail.
Route Description: From the start of your trail near the highway guard rail, follow it as it snakes up and down. It is quite likely that you will need to clamber over some down trees, but have no fear for at mile 1.3, you will pop out of trees and hit the “official” trail to the pass.
You will hit this trail at a switchback. If you headed right and downhill, you would eventually find yourself at the Bridge Creek Trailhead Your route, however, heads left and uphill. Be sure to note this unmarked intersection for your return trip. Now the good stuff starts.
Looking straight ahead you’ll be able to barely make out the pass in the distance. Follow this trail all the way up.
At mile 3.6 start up the switchbacks to the pass
Reach Copper Pass at mile 3.9 and at an elevation of 6,680 feet.
Return to your car the same way you came, reaching it at mile 7.8
Going Farther: If you want a longer loop, you can head down the other side of the pass, back over Twisp Pass, and past Dagger Lake for a great 17 mile loop.
For trail info, gear, or to pick up a map stop in to Cascades Outdoor Store. We look forward to seeing you before or after hitting the trail!