COPPER CREEK

COPPER CREEK hike to the waterfall.

  • Refer to geological survey map Nome D-1.

  • Difficulty: Easy. However, a creek crossing is required, and after periods of rain, this creek can be difficult or unpassable. You will descend about 200 feet of elevation and rise another 300.

  • Distance: about 2 miles round trip.

At about mile 28 of the Kougarok Road, about two miles after the road curves to the east, watch for a deep cleft in the hill to the south. Just as the Kougarok Road begins to descend, park. For the safety of others, ensure that your parked vehicle is well visible from both directions.

Hike south toward Nugget Creek, which you’ll have to cross in order to visit Copper Creek, which is its tributary. Some years, the crossing is hopping over rocks. Others, Nugget is not prudently crossable. You’ll have to decide.

After crossing, within a few hundred feet, you’ll encounter the old roadbed of the Wild Goose Railroad. Picture the passenger cars filled with 1905 Victorian-dressed women on berry picking expeditions, and tough miners who depended on this line to carry goods to their camps fifty miles north. You can hike the old railbed in each direction for many miles, and a quarter mile above it, there’s a ditch line that you can take for about a mile in each direction.

Inside the notched Copper Creek valley you’ll find a satisfying waterfall.

If you’re adventurous, hike up the peak to your left (SE), which has a broad summit at 1520 ft., only about 500 feet above the notch of the valley. There’s a long ridge at the top, about ¾ of a mile long, and if you hike to its southern edge, you’ll get a glimpse into a steep and unforgiving area that people probably have not visited for a long time.

Retrace your steps to the road. 

By:Tom Busch