In Run the World series, RunGo’s team of run-loving employees will take you on a tour of their favourite runs around the world. Each run will feature a different region, with tons of photos to get you motivated and a link to RunGo’s route, so you can follow the run with voice navigation. Whether it’s road or trail, it will be something to add to your running bucket list.
Episode 4: Mount Baker / North Cascades Copper Ridge Loop, just outside Bellingham
Distance: 52 kilometers! (That’s 32 miles.)
Elevation Change: Lots. 2,776m of gain. (That’s 9,107 feet.)
RunGo Route to Follow: Copper Ridge Loop 52k
Running Club to Go With: Cascade Mountain Runners
Why You’ll Love it
After driving down the beautiful forest roads away from Bellingham, this run is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Have you ever run through the Mount Baker Wilderness area and the North Cascades National Park? They are enchanted places. You’ll go down lush, open valleys dotted in paintbrush, along the beautiful Chilliwack River right near the Canada/US border, and then the “run” (sometimes a hike) takes you on a total different spin, taking you way up rocky ridges, past cascading waterfalls, alpine lakes, and into the deepest greens and browns you’ve ever seen. What’s more, you even get to cross the Chilliwack River in style, via cable car!
Not for the faint of heart! This route is already 53km, and with lots of brush in the way of the trail, and lots of elevation, it may be one of your longest ultra runs to date! But the more time out running, the better, right?! In all seriousness, there is no cell phone reception so you’ll want a buddy, because it’s a remote loop with no escape route, which is also what makes this route so beautiful. Honestly, most people do this route as a 4 day hike, so it’s an ambitious trail run in one go. Expect a long day with fewer kilometers / hour than normal because of the brush along the trail. Other things to note are that it will probably rain, and the brush will probably cut your legs at some point, so you may opt for cropped pants for this run. Oh yeah, and there are two icy cold stream crossings to keep you cool, when we ran the route they were up to our knees. Thankfully they are side by side and sort of a welcome feeling for tired feet! Yes, lots of cautions. But well worth it!
For more on the Copper Ridge Loop, check out the Copper Ridge Loop on the Washington Trails Association website, or go for a beer with the local Bellingham-based Cascade Mountain Runners to get all the details before or after you head out!