A Day Trip to Copper Falls

Today we’re supposed to be going on a little day hike to Copper Falls to do some shooting with my sister and brother-in-law. We were hoping for a little sunshine, but I guess that’s not to be. At the moment it’s actually trying to snow. I’m sure there will be no accumulation, but it’s still a little disheartening. As long as it doesn’t begin pouring buckets of rain, we still plan to go.

Copper Falls is just southeast of the Canadian border off of Hwy 95. To get there:

From US-95 northbound from Bonners Ferry continue on US-95 toward Eastport and the Canadian border. Watch for Good Grief (on your right). The turn is about 2.5 miles from Good Grief. You’ll cross the UP railroad track and then continue on about a 1/2 mile more until you cross the Moyie River. On your right is Copper Creek Road (#2517). Make a hard right and follow Copper Creek Road for about 2.2 miles to the campground and trail head. The base of Copper Falls is marked and is an easy 1/2 mile trail hike from the parking area.

This is a great hike if you have kids along. It’s a short, gentle climb to the falls. You can either return the way you came or there is a loop trail that runs down by the creek you can follow.


Copper Falls is also a nice photographic opportunity. Its 225 foot drop to the pool below requires a wide angle lens to really get it all in there. If you don’t have a wide angle, just be sure that you bring a standard 18-XX. Don’t show up with only your 70-300 zoom or some such or you’ll be sorely disappointed.

The best time of day to shoot the falls (in my opinion) is either in the earlier to mid morning or late late afternoon to early evening. The area is heavily treed and during these times you don’t have harsh, direct sunlight. Midday shooting at the falls with the sun high overhead can make proper exposure very difficult. Honestly, my favorite time to shoot the falls is on an overcast day.
You’ll want to be sure to bring a tripod and neutral density filter if you plan to shoot longer exposures for that “silky water” effect. It’s also a good idea to bring a lens cloth or lens tissue as the mist from the fall will quickly coat your lens and filters.

Hopefully I’ll return with a little something to share!

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