WA – North Cascades National Park, Hannegan/Copper Ridge Trails

After completing my trip to Sahale Glacier (link), I found myself once again at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount. I arrived at 6am and had the place to myself. It was sprinkling so I was happy to wait in my car. When the next car arrived they did the same. By the time the third arrived I checked in with them to see if they’d honor the line so we could all wait in our cars out of the rain. The answer was a resounding YES and in fact by the time the office opened there were 5-6 vehicles. A ranger put out a “take a number” box 5-10 minutes before opening. It would be helpful to do this much earlier, maybe even the evening prior. But alas, I was first in line and got the permit I wanted. Tip: The office in Marblemount opens at 7am whereas the one in Glacier, nearer this trailhead, doesn’t open until 8am. Both are open 7 days a week.

My fingers were crossed I’d get this permit as I needed to drive the 40 miles to Sedro Wooley to retrieve my replacement credit card, and it was conveniently on my way to the trailhead.

Initially the forecast indicated a clear day starting Monday but reality was a bit different.

I dilly dallied and made a second pot of coffee waiting to see if the storm would blow over.

I drove up Mt Baker and finally got enough signal to check the radar. I drove back to the Glacier Public Service Center to see if I could delay my permit by a day. Success!

So back up the Mt Baker Highway I went and caught a teaser of the mountain.

It was so beautiful on the mountain, I was looking forward to exploring further when I returned from my latest outing.

The next day the skies were looking much improved.

Bleeding hearts.

Foxgloves.

Not sure on the ID of this one.

Columbine.

I hadn’t seen this plant previously and have since learned it’s a dwarf fireweed.

Aster with morning dew.

Monkey flower.

First sighting of a black slug. Ewwwww, right?

It was nice to see evidence of recent trail maintenance.

Survey marker at Hannegan Pass.

Views from Hannegan Pass.

I couldn’t help but admire the texture and colors of this mountain. I learned later that this is Hannegan Peak. My plan was to summit on the day of my exit.

New wilderness for me.

Looking down at Hannegan Pass. To the left is Ruth Mountain, with Mount Shuksan in the middle and Hannegan Peak to the right.

I was so happy berries were finally ripening. In fact I believe berry picking saved me from a collision with a bear.

Insulator from old telephone lines.

Silesia Camp is on the top of this hill and would be my home for a couple nights.

There are two campsites at Silesia Camp. My first night I had the protected site without a view. The bonus was no condensation.

The second night I switched sites for this one with a view of Mineral and Whatcom Mountains. Initially I had the tent set up front and center but after the wind started gusting I relocated to the side. I was surprised by the amount of condensation I experienced.

It’s such a convenience having a bear box in camp.

Toilet with a view.

From camp I had great views of these mountains.

Morning light.

This helicopter made a few stops at Copper Ridge Lookout with parts for repairs.

The lookout is barely visible on the distant peak.

The trail to the lookout.

Copper Ridge Lookout

The butterflies liked my gaiters, I’m guessing they thought they were flowers.

Egg Lake is just below Silesia Camp. It’s the nearest water and is quite a descent followed by a stiff ascent. The lookout is on the ridge behind the lake. When I returned from the lookout I couldn’t resist stopping by for a swim. I was thrilled I had the lake to myself. It was deep, clean and a decent temperature.

Looking toward Hannegan Pass; Hannegan Peak is to the right.

Photo bombed by this beautiful creature. 

Going up Hannegan Peak

The amount of snow, ice and glaciers is quite amazing.

The ridges had open invites for further exploration.

So much eye candy.

Looking back up at Hannegan Pass as I’m returning to the trailhead.

You can see the transition up to Ruth Mountain.

I believe this was my first visit to the Mt Baker Wilderness. 

It was cool to find out part of the trail was shared with the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT). I met a few thru hikers. I wouldn’t want to hike the next section which includes 5 miles on the dirt trailhead road and 10 miles of paved Mt Baker Highway.

Adventure Date(s):

  • August 13-15, 2019

Hike Details:

Tips:

  • Permits are required and can only be obtained either in advance from the recreation.gov site or from a wilderness office for same day or next day camping. Rangers are out and about checking permits.
  • This intimated me and as a result I chose not to hike the Copper Ridge Loop. I later found out the cart was broken and you can walk through the creek. I’m sure it could be challenging based on snowmelt.
  • Be prepared for biting flies and mosquitoes. I’d sprayed my outerwear, pack and screen on tent in advance with Sawyer’s Permethrin (Amazon link), and applied Picardin (Amazon link) to my skin when needed.
  • Dispersed camping is available on nearby USFS lands.
  • Set mouse traps in your car.

Resources:

Links:

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