Copper Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Missing Link Lake #51 Fishing: MN DNR; Northern pike
Maps: Fisher F-12; McKenzie #7 Lake Depth: MN DNR; 52 feet
Fire History:
Lake Size: 37 acres
Campsites: None Wildlife Seen on Visit: None
Last Visited: July 23, 2016 Lake Elevation: About 1765 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR

Routes from Copper Lake:
To Hubbub Lake: Walk the 69 rod portage
To Snipe Lake: Walk and paddle the 100 rod portage
To Sora Lake: Bushwhack about 320 rods

OVERVIEW

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Copper Lake

Gunflint Ranger District

The lake likely gets its name from what appears to be an old copper mine toward the western end of the lakes' north shore.

Copper Lake is slender and fairly deep. The lake is fed by two small streams along its south shoreline. Copper Lake's water flows out to the north from the eastern end of the lake through a small stream to Snipe Lake. This stream is crossed along the portage between Snipe Lake and Copper Lake. This same streams mouth at Snipe Lake is right next to the start of the 100 rod portage to Copper Lake.

This is not a very heavily traveled area as the portages leading out to this lake are fairly long and above average in difficulty. There are no campsites on Copper Lake, nor are there any campsites heading west until you reach Tuscarora Lake. Snipe Lake offers the nearest camping spots after you cross the 100 rod portage between the two lakes.

Copper Lake provides access to Sora Lake along its south shoreline. This is almost directly across the lake from the copper mining cliff. Look for a jumble of boulders and a small stream flowing in. There is a faint trail leading into the forest along the right hand side of this stream as you look at it from Copper Lake. Visit the Sora Lake page for more details.

There is another creek that also flows into Copper Lake around the middle of the south shore. This very small creek which is hard to find is coming from Little Copper Lake. One can only assume that prospectors found "little copper" at Little Copper Lake as that lake is actually larger than Copper Lake itself. This creek does not look promising as a route to Little Copper Lake which is in the Hairy Lake Primitive Management Area. More likely, Little Copper Lake is more easily approached from the Long Island Lake side by coming up through Yogi Lake, Juniper Lake and then into Little Copper Lake.


Exploring Copper Lake


Looking at Copper Lake while you stand at the start of the Snipe Lake portage. Copper Lake bends to the right in the distance and than stretches west. This is the northern most point on the lake.



Leaving the Snipe Lake portage behind, paddle your canoe south and then west where the lake makes a bend to the right. You take a break just offshore from where a creek flows into Copper Lake. This creek is coming from Little Copper Lake which lies to the south of your location.



From the bend on Copper Lake, if you look back to the east you see this bog.



After making the turn to the west on Copper Lake, you can see all the way down the lake to its distant shoreline. The lake is narrow and fairly deep at 52 feet. There is only a modest population of northern pike swimming in this lake.



Near the start of this stretch, investigate where a creek from Little Copper Lake flows into Copper Lake. From the creek mouth, continue west along the south shore of Copper Lake. Another couple minutes along, pull up to the south shore. You are looking for the Sora Lake bushwhack (portage). This isn't it, but it sure does look like a trail back in there. Hmmm. Setting off again, continue along the south shoreline, round a small point, and now you come across (and hear) another small creek flowing into Copper Lake. Just to the left of the mouth of this little brook is the location to start to bushwhack south to Sora Lake.



Where Copper Lake begins to widen as you proceed west, if you paddle over to the south shoreline, you can find this little grove of bushes where the tiny brook from Little Copper Lake flows in. Little Copper Lake is a difficult to reach lake in the Hairy Lake Primitive Management Area south of here.



The most obvious feature on Copper Lake is this jumbled cliff face. It was probably the site of an exploratory copper mine and also probably where the lake got its name. But this is just speculation.



Straight off the bow of your canoe, in that grass, is the landing for the start of the bushwhack to Sora Lake. It doesn't look like much, but once you get on shore there is an obvious trail to be found there that leads up a slight ascent along a creek to an open bog. The pile of rocks to the right of your view is where that creek flows into Copper Lake. The cliff with the copper mine is almost directly behind you across the lake from this position.



Pulled up on shore at the Sora Lake bushwhack landing. The cliff across the lake makes a good landmark for finding this spot.



After leaving the Sora Lake bushwhacking spot, complete the east to west crossing of Copper Lake by heading to the Hubbub Lake portage. Check out the cliff where the old copper mine was on the way.



You are now on the west end of Copper Lake and looking east from the Hubbub Lake portage. Along the north shore to your left, you can just make out the cliff where the copper mine is located (just right of center).


Route Connections for Copper Lake

From Copper Lake, you can portage to Hubbub Lake or Snipe Lake. You can also bushwhack into Sora Lake in the Hairy Lake Primitive Management Area.

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