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Trip Report    

Backpack - Ipsut Creek Camp

Beginner backpack to Ipsut Creek Camp with side trips to Lower Crossing and Green Lake.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The route along Carbon River Road to the camp is in great condition.  It is pristine until about 0.25 miles before camp, where the trail has been recently rerouted. The rerouted area is brief but is muddy and rough - still easily traversable but not very aesthetic. In spite of being a "road" the walk along the closed section of Carbon River road is very nice because of the gorgeous forest along the way. There walk itself can still be monotonous but the views along the way help make up for it. 

    The route from Ipsut Creek Camp to Lower Crossing has several washout areas, but were traversable thanks to some recently installed temporary bridges. We passed through about a dozen sections of trail that were covered in sawdust, signs of intensive trail work done by a WTA creek during the preceding week (as reported to us by a NPS Ranger). There is one short 20' section where the trail gets quite narrow and has significant drop to the side. This section is still easily passable, and a handline has been installed, but can cause concern for any who are exposure averse.  Both trails that lead further than Low Crossing have issues. The trail on the west side of Carbon River - the trail that leads directly to Carbon River Camp - appears to have been permanently closed due washouts. The trail on the east side of Carbon River is open but the bridge that leads to it is gone, so one must ford the river to get there. We were told that a replacement bridge is coming soon. 

    The route to Green Lake is beautiful and perfect. The ferns are in full growth mode now, and we were treated to several long sections of trail lined on either side with large fresh green fern tendrils doing that unrolling thing that fern tendrils do. The view from the bridge that cross Ranger Creek just before Green Lake was especially idyllic. 

    Ipsut Creek Camp itself was a mixed bag.  Some of the campsites are good, but many have large blowdowns going through them, significantly reducing their capacity and livability. A few sites have piles of branch debris, making them feel more like a clear cut than a campsite. The two outhouses smelled strongly, making the half dozen or so sites near them undesirable. We were able to find a beautiful group site near the river on the opposite side of the campground from the outhouses, so our experience was quite nice, but the quality of the experience can vary significantly from site to site.

The objective of this trip was to provide an opportunity for beginning backpackers to gain experience on an easy, low commitment trip with leaders who were there to provide support. All went well except for a brief bit of rain during the hike in. The rain stopped before we arrived at camp and did not return, except for a brief shower overnight while we were sleeping in our tents. Camp conditions remained damp on Saturday, but Sunday arrived clear and sunny, a perfect backpacking day.

Our crew was gung ho to do more, so on Saturday we added an impromptu day hike up to Lower Crossing, and on Sunday we added a side trip to Green Lake.

Saturday: 8.5 miles, 800' gain.  Sunday: 8.5 miles, 1000' gain. Yes, it was uphill ways.  :-) The gain on the hike out was due to the side trip to Green Lake. Coincidentally, our Saturday and Sunday side trips had the same mileage (3.1 miles RT each).