Low-temperature plastic flow in copper was investigated by studying its tensile and creep deformation characteristics. The dependence of the flow stress on temperature and strain rate was used to evaluate the thermal activation energy while the activation area was derived from the change-in-stress creep experiments. A value of 0.6 eV was obtained for the total obstacle energy both in electrolytic and commerical copper. The activation areas in copper of three selected purities fell in the range 1200 to 100 b2. A forest intersection mechanism seems to control the temperature dependent part of the flow stress. The increase in the athermal component of the flow stress with impurity content in copper is attributed to a change in the dislocation density. The investigation also revealed that thermal activation of some attractive junctions also takes place during low-temperature creep. The model of attractive junction formation on a stress decrement during creep, yields a value of 45±10 ergs cm−2 for the stacking fault energy in copper.