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Cooper River

Snoqualmie Region


Snoqualmie Region -- Salmon La Sac/Teanaway
View map below


7.8 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 400 ft.
Highest Point: 2800 ft.


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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Kids will love this hike because there’s so much to see: a rushing river, a lush old-growth forest dotted with wildflowers and, if you’re lucky, plenty of wildlife.

Almost immediately, you are greeted with the best view of the river you’ll have along the hike. Here there are rocks to sit on and water to splash in on a hot day. Of course, be aware if you’re with little ones—this is a river after all—but enjoy the water and the sun-warmed stones and then continue on.

Just after departing the trailhead, you’ll arrive at a fork. The right-hand trail heads steeply up to the rocky bluffs of Polallie Ridge, so unless you want a thigh burner, keep left and stay close to the river. While the river plays hide-and-seek along this stretch of trail, wildflowers keep you occupied. Look for arrowleaf balsamroot, trillium, calypso orchids, vanilla leaf, lupine, and Indian paintbrush, among many others.

When you tire of examining the forest floor, look up. The old-growth forest you’re walking through is populated by cedars, white pine, Douglas-fir, and vine maples, whose bright reds and oranges are stunning in autumn.

Two miles from the trailhead, pass another good riverside sitting spot and follow the trail as it flattens out in open forest. In late summer, you can stop for a trailside snack—berries grow here along with more wildflowers near the river.

You’re nearly to your destination of Cooper Lake at this point, and the undulating trail just keeps going – there is hardly any elevation gain at all.

WTA Pro Tip: Lunch spots along Cooper Lake are plentiful, but the best are a half mile along the Pete Lake Trail, which skirts the northeast side of Cooper Lake.

If the group feels up to it, press on to Owhi Campground, where you can lay out a picnic and enjoy views of Chimney Rock’s photogenic summit block.


Cooper River

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.4093, -121.1067 Open map in new window


Snoqualmie Region -- Salmon La Sac/Teanaway

Cooper River (#1311)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Cle Elum Ranger District

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Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails Kachess Lake No. 208

Getting There

Drive I-90 to exit 80 signed for Roslyn/Salmon la Sac. Turn north onto State Route 903. You’ll drive for nearly 15 miles, skirting Cle Elum Lake before arriving at a Y-junction in the road near the Salmon La Sac Campground. Veer left onto Road 111, crossing the bridge over the Cle Elum River and following the sign for the Cooper River Trail. Arrive at the large trailhead in another half mile.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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Cooper River

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