Cooperlanding is one of our favorite places for outdoor fun. There are great hiking trails, world class fishing, rafting, horseback riding, camping and wildlife viewing. This small mountain town has everything an adventurous family seeks. There are a number of campgrounds throughout Cooperlanding but when the fish are running strong, it is hard to get a site. For a full list and map of campgrounds, Click Here.
On our visit to Cooperlanding we managed to get a spot at the Russian River.
The boardwalk along the Russian River is surrounded by towering birch and cottonwood trees with giant ferns reaching for the trail. This campground is in such high demand that people book their stay a year in advance during the July fishing season. The Russian River is known for its amazing salmon runs and combat fishing. It is common during fishing season to see bears on the river and they have been known to steal fish or push a fishman out of his spot.
Some of the hikes we did around Cooperlanding:
This trail is a little more than 6 miles roundtrip and pretty strenuous for little legs. We took plenty of breaks when the kids wanted and enjoyed each cool creek that crossed our path.
The lakes don't have an easy access point for the kids to wade into but there was a fun bridge at the front of the first lake and a beaver house on the backside. On the bank of the second lake is an established camping spot where we had lunch and spotted sheep on the mountainside.
We learned a valuable lesson on letting our 7 year old carry the sandwiches. He thoroughly pummeled them while hiking. It was more like scrambled sandwiches for lunch. On the return trip we had to take cover for a torrential down pour that lasted about 10 minutes before moving on.
The most exciting part of the hike was when a Mama Moose and her two calves entered the trail above us. We picked up our pace down the mountain when they decided to follow us. The deep boom of their clomping was an incredibly motivating sound. We ran for a bit but they kept pace with us. We would have left the trail but the alder trees were thick at this section and there were too many of us to safely hide. So we ran with her booming approach on our heals. When the trail suddenly opened we encountered another family with young children and we all quickly removed ourselves from the trail behind a huge fallen cottonwood tree. Mama moose and calves went their own way to our great relief. Our toddler still talks about the moose chasing us down the mountain.
We were fortunate to hike the Rainbow lake trail on one of the best days of the summer. The trailhead is located about 11 miles up Snug Harbor road and we spotted a porcupine on our drive there. The trial is around .5 miles and maintained. There are Rainbow Trout in the lake but we didn't do any fishing on this trip, we were all about swimming in the clear cool water on such an abnormally hot day. There is an established campsite between the lakes with a picnic table is located a little further up the path. We swam for hours, hunted minnows then lounged on the boardwalk enjoying lunch.
One thing I would recommend after our visit is to wear water shoes. Our eldest son cut short our afternoon when he sliced open his foot on some glass in the lake. It was a bloody walk back to the van and we couldn't get him to the doctor right away. He had needed stiches and the doctor settled on cloth ones that worked perfect keeping the wound closed despite their late application.