Day hike to Cooney Lake to see larches

18 Mile Hike to Cooney Lake for Larches

By Bryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS

November 23, 2021




Our Rating

Methow Range | North Cascades

17.85 miles, roundtrip

(This is from what we recorded on a Garmin Fenix 6x

Gain: 3588 ft.

Highest Point: 7284 ft.

When it comes to larch season, there are some really common places people hike at: Enchantments, Heather and Maple Pass, and Lake Ingalls. We've done all of those and more, so for us we want to find new places that we haven't seen and see if they are worth going for larches.

Our journey took us from Spray Park straight over the the Methow Valley area. It was here that we decided to day hike to Cooney Lake. Even though it was 18 miles roundtrip, it was a blessing in disguise that we didn't backpack because there was at least 10 million people backpacking the same lake.

I have to say, this area was a hidden gem of a larch area. Once you get above 5500', larches were everywhere.

Getting Started

Start off at the Crater Creek Trailhead. You can start at Foggy Dew Creek TH, but you'll have more elevation (with a couple less miles). The parking area has plenty of room for a normal set of cars, but if all of Instagram decides to show up, that's a different story.

Start along the Eagle Creek Trail for about 2.2 miles until you run into the Martin Creek Trail. The Martin Creek Trail will take you to within about 200 feet of the lake, so follow it for about 6.4 miles.

These trails are shared with bicycles, dirtbikes, horses, trail runners, and anything other fun recreation activities. So keep that in mind as you are hiking along the trail.

Arriving at Cooney Lake

You'll come to a major junction along the Martin Creek Trail with a sign pointing to Cooney Lake. The lake is about 200 feet away from this junction. When you arrive, you are right on the shores of the lake.

There are quite a few campsites and even a horse camp available at the lake. It is a great basecamp area to explore more of the region and to access the ridge above the lake.

Remember if you decide to camp, to follow LNT principles and please keep fires away from the lake shore.

Click on images below to see a bigger picture

Day hike to Cooney Lake to see the larches

Practicing LNT Principles, and Giving Back

We really want to encourage everyone to practice LNT principles when they explore these beautiful places. We spent years trying to minimize social impact on these locations, but the cat is out of the bag and these places are easy to find online. So it is our mission to share more about ways to keep these places as pristine as possible.

We also donate 3% of all our profits to organizations supporting the outdoors and working hard to keep these areas protected and safe.

About the author

Bryan Carroll CFMP, NTP, FAFS

Bryan Carroll is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Movement Therapist who helps the outdoors community to reduce injuries and improve their health so they can get back to exploring nature. His big health crisis from mold exposure taught him the importance of finding the root causes to illnesses so you can take back control of your life. He is also the host of the Summit For Wellness Podcast.

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