Hike description: This is a newly rebuilt trail, too new to be on maps. The original trail dated from 1915 when prospectors pounded it out looking for copper and manganese. The new trail takes you through lush old-growth forest, up Copper Creek, past some old mines to a forested ridge with limited views.
The closing of the causeway across Lake Cushman means that you can’t drive to this trailhead. Your warm-up and cool-down for this hike will be on the Shady Lane Trail. Follow Shady Lane to Forest Service Road 2451. Turn to the left and cross the washout. Shortly on your right you will find the signed Trailhead for Trail 876, the Copper Creek Trail.
The Copper Creek Trail immediately starts climbing and doesn’t stop until you get to the top. Take time at the top to rest before switching your joints into downhill mode. When you get to the Shady Lane Trail you’ll be ready for a leisurely stroll on the flat back to the trailhead.
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: Drive west on Highway 119, Lake Cushman Road. At 9.3 miles, you’ll come to a T intersection with Forest Service Road 24. Turn left onto FS 24. Stay on FS 24, following the signs to the Staircase Ranger Station and entrance to Olympic National Park. Parking is on the right. Walk across the bridge over the North Fork Skokomish River and find the trailhead on the left.
: 5 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult) Miles round-trip
: 7 Elevation
: 2,400 feet
Best time of year
: May to September
Map: Green Trails 167 – Mount Steel for the Shady Lane Trail; Schematic Map in Guide Book
: Olympic National Park day or annual pass at the Shady Lane Trailhead
: Temper your urge to explore old mine shafts with the knowledge that abandoned mine shafts are just that – abandoned. Toilets are located at the Shady Lane trailhead.
Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee. For other hikes, visit www.thenewstribune.com/hiking.