Readers' Choice Northwest: Hannegan Peak and Copper Ridge - North Cascades NP, WA

Enjoy unparalleled views from one of the country's finest skyline trails.
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Enjoy unparalleled views from one of the country's finest skyline trails.

Golden Larches - Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA | Wahtum Lake, OR | Lost River Range, ID | South Spur, Mt. Adams, WA | Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier NP, WA | North Cascades NP, WA

With toothy granite spires and glacier-laced peaks crowding every horizon, it’s easy to see why the North Cascades are known as the American Alps. Add steep-walled valleys filled with ancient forests of 200-foot-tall trees, and you have one of the most distinctive landscapes on earth. See it all with the sweeping views from Copper Ridge, in the park’s northwest corner. This 22.4-mile out-and-back from Hannegan trailhead to Copper’s fire lookout—including a two-mile, off-trail side trip up 6,187-foot Hannegan Peak—offers up miles of above-treeline hiking with calendar-worthy photo ops of Mts. Baker and Shuksan, the aptly named Jagged Ridge and Picket Range, and a sea of peaks reaching into British Columbia.


Art Campbell calls this “my favorite weekend hike ever.” Watch for black bears feasting on berries along the four-mile, 2,000-foot climb to Hannegan Pass. Then make the side hike up the south ridge of Hannegan Peak; take a break in wildflower meadows overlooking a rocky skyline that seems close enough to touch. Backtrack to the pass and follow the Copper Ridge Trail east; in about 2.7 miles, you’ll begin some 3.5 miles of open ridgewalking, overlooking the largest collection of glaciers in the Lower 48. Set up basecamp on the rocky shoreline of Egg Lake (catch sunset or sunrise from the fire lookout, two miles farther east). Backcountry permits are free but only issued in person, up to a day prior to your trip’s start (at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount). 


PLAN IT

Driving From the Glacier Public Service Center on WA 542, continue 13 miles up the highway and turn left on FR 32. Continue 6.7 miles to Hannegan Campground and the trailhead.

Maps Green Trails Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Challenger ($6, greentrailsmaps.com)

Contact (360) 854-7200, nps.gov/noca. Wilderness Information Center, Marblemount, (360) 854-7245