Trip Report    

Backpack - Mowich Lake to Ipsut Creek

Our group backpacked from Mowich Lake to Eunice Lake and then on to Tolmie Peak. From there, we took Ipsut Pass to the Ipsut Creek Campground. This trip includes stunning views- sapphire blue lakes, a fire lookout, and waterfalls.

  • Road rough but passable
  • The Tolmie Peak Lookout Trail was in terrific shape.  We stopped at Eunice Lake and even enjoyed some swimming.  The trail from Eunice Lake to the lookout was also in great shape.  Much of the information I had read suggested this was a tough, steep portion of the trail.  I certainly didn't think so and no one in our group struggled. 

    There is an opportunity for some light scrambling at the top.  A few people in our group decided to take advantage. 

    Ipsut pass was a surprise.  From Ipsut Pass to the campground was about 3.9 miles with an elevation loss of about 2,700 ft.  The first part of the trail is a series of steep switchbacks.  The trail is in good shape, but many were having trouble navigating the steepness and loose rock.  I would suggest poles for this portion of the trail.  

    After the switchbacks, the trail then levels off a bit before descending again into the campground.  The trail runs along Ipsut Creek.  We passed many waterfalls along the way.  Right before the campground is an opportunity to stop at Ipsut Creek Falls.  This trail is really well marked.

 Mowich Lake Road is 17 mile long, gravel road.  There was a lot of dust. There were quite a few potholes but nothing too bad. Take is slow!  Finding parking for our group on a Friday morning was fine.  However, when we finished up on Saturday afternoon, there were no spots available- even with people parking alongside the road.  

Obtaining a permit was easy.  I applied and received one through the online system.  About a week before the trip,  I had inquired about expanding the party size from 4 to 8. The Ranger had no problem accommodating me.  Just remember to turn your reservation into a permit at the Carbon River Ranger's Station.  

The campground has bear boxes and a picnic table at each site.  There are also toilets.  Although we decided to obtain our water from the Carbon River, the Ranger  advised getting it from Ipsut Falls as the Carbon River was a bit silty.    

We saw plenty of chipmunks along the trail.  At Eunice Lake, we spotted grouse, several salamanders, and an Eagle flying over Tolmie Peak Lookout. The switchbacks along Ipsut Pass provided us with plenty of berries.  We also saw a tiny frogs hopping along the trail.  

We experienced warm weather.  My recommendation is to bring plenty of water and fill up whenever possible.  From Eunice Lake to Ipsut Falls, there were few opportunities to fill up.  From Ipsut Falls to Mowich Lake, there was only one acceptable water source.  It was a very small waterfall running along the trail so it's possible that it dries up depending on the weather/season.

Total miles: 13.2

Total Elevation Gain: 2,700 ft