Trip Report    

Basic Snowshoe - Copper Creek Hut

Snowy roads make for difficult access, but snowy trails make for fun!

  • Snow and ice on road
  • Several inches of fresh snow and warnings via social media from MTTA about lack of plowing meant that either chains or a high clearance vehicle with AWD/4WD and good winter tires were required to drive to the sno-parks to access the MTTA's North District. We saw 3 cars either get stuck or have great difficulty with the road to the sno-park and the sno-park parking area (which also was not plowed.)

    My Land Rover Discovery truck with AWD and snow tires was totally fine! :)

    Be sure to always check the Twitter feed of MTTA about plowing and bring your tire chains!

We enjoyed tromping through several inches of fresh snow en route to Copper Creek Hut. The groomers for the ski trail network eventually passed us and smoothed over the Rainier Vista Trail (the trail leading to this particular hut). Navigation is easy to a particular destination in this network of trails though I'd like to get a better map so that I can wander around more- the Tacoma state forest/Elbe trails map that is sold online and at Whittaker Mountaineering doesn't seem to show every trail that's actually out there.

The weather turned out to be quite mild, sunny, and pleasant in the first half of the outing. Copper Creek Hut was a nice place to eat lunch indoors and relax - though busy with other day visitors and overnight guests. One participant got a blister which the trip leader put a dressing on; no other real issues.

On the return trip the clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped, and the snow (now fully groomed along the entire trail) became firm enough that some participants opted to simply hike and remove their snowshoes. Postholing wasn't a real issue. The road to the sno-park had been plowed up to the closed and locked gate at the uppermost of the 3 sno-parks by the time we were descending back to our vehicles at the lowest of the sno-parks. Snow had mostly melted off the road. So, if we had gotten a later start we would have been able to shorten our walk on the road and park closer to the trailhead. We had an extra .5 mile or so each way due to the unplowed road  and snow in the morning.


My Strava GPS data:   Snowshoe to Copper Creek Hut on I recorded the distance as 9.7 miles round-trip.



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Sid Watson
Sid Watson says:
Mar 26, 2018 09:27 PM

This was my first trip to one of the MTTA huts. It was a very enjoyable trip except for my blister. Thanks to the leader's first aid skills, my sore foot did not interfere with my hike back to the cars. I would definitely like to go back to this hut or one of the other MTTA huts in the future.