7 Ultimate Hikes in Hatcher Pass

ultimate hikes in hatcher pass reed lakes

Hatcher Pass is a hidden gem tucked away in the Talkeetna Mountains. It’s an awesome recreation area in Alaska with a ton of trails for hiking, biking and skiing. The drive itself is beautiful! Lace up your hiking boots for these ultimate hikes in Hatcher Pass.

How to get there:

Hatcher Pass is located 60 miles north of Anchorage and it usually takes less than 1 hour and 20 minutes to drive there. Follow the Glenn Highway north to mile 49.5. Turnoff on Palmer-Fishhook Road and follow the signs to Hatcher Pass Road/Independence Mine State Historical Park.

Check the weather:

Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Center provides weather cams for three areas within Hatcher Pass. Check the weather for Independence Mine, Marmot Ridge and Gold Cord Mine.

Find a map:

Click here for an area map of Hatcher Pass from Alaska State Parks.

7 Ultimate Hikes in Hatcher Pass

  1. Independence Mine Trail
  2. April Bowl Loop via Hatch Peak
  3. Skyscraper Mountain
  4. Marmot Mountain
  5. Reed Lakes Trail
  6. Gold Mint Trail to Mint Hut
  7. Bomber Traverse

Independence Mine Trail

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: 173 feet
Difficulty: Very Easy

Explore the history of mining in Alaska as you follow a self-guided interpretive tour through one of Alaska’s largest gold mining camps. This trail is perfect for families.

Venture a little farther up and you’ll find great views of the mine and the entire valley.

How to get there:

Follow the Fishhook-Willow/Hatcher Pass Road and continue on the road as it turns into Gold Cord Road. Park at the Independence Mine State Historical Park Visitor Center. The gate is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s cheaper to park at the lower lot but it adds a half-mile walk.

April Bowl Loop via Hatch Peak

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 1.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
Difficulty: Easy

This trail starts with switchback and continues onto the rocky ridgeline. The summit is reached at Hatch Peak and offers incredible views of Hatcher Pass.

Most people hike this out and back but you can actually hike it in a loop. Just continue on the ridge after the summit of Hatch Peak and follow the trail down the other side of the lakes.

How to get there:

Follow Hatcher Pass Road through the pass to Mile 19. A small parking lot is available. The road through the pass is closed during the winter.

Skyscraper Mountain

Distance: 1.9 miles
Time: 1.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 990 feet
Difficulty: Moderate

This trail gets right to it. Make your way up steep terrain with a few scree sections for a quick hike with amazing views of Summit Lake and the surroundings mountains.

How to get there:

Follow Hatcher Pass Road through the pass to Mile 18.5-ish and you’ll find a small area for parking along the road. The road through the pass is closed during the winter.

Marmot Mountain

Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 1.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,955 feet
Difficulty: Moderate

A few switchbacks turns into a steep climb, followed by a traverse along the ridgeline until you reach the summit.

Snowfields may remain in late summer so you may want to bring some gaiters. This trail is not recommended on a rainy day.

How to get there:

Follow the Fishhook-Willow/Hatcher Pass Road until mile 16.5. Take a right into the Fishhook Trailhead parking lot.

Reed Lakes

Distance: 9 miles
Time:
5 hours
Elevation Gain:
2,247 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate

This trail takes you to two beautiful, glacial lakes, Upper and Lower Reed Lakes. The first couple of miles on the trail are mellow. You’ll pass ruins from the abandoned Snowbird Mine before making your way up switchbacks.

The hardest part of the trail is crossing the boulder field.

Be cautious for your small children and pets which may need assistance over this section.

Follow the trail along a stream and you’ll find yourself at Lower Reed Lake. Continue on and pass the waterfall and you’ll find yourself at Upper Reed Lake.

How to get there:

Follow Fishhook-Willow/Hatcher Pass Road for just over 14 miles and take a sharp right onto Archangel Road. Follow Archangel Road for a couple of miles and you’ll find the Reed Lakes Trail. This is a popular trail and parking may be limited.

Gold Mint Trail to Mint Hut

Distance: 16 miles
Time: 8 hours
Elevation Gain: 2,119 feet
Difficulty: Moderate

A gentle climb up the mountain valley that ends at a small, mountain hut run by Alaska Mountaineering Club. If you are planning on an overnight, bring a tent.

Huts are first-come, first-serve and no reservations can be made. Bring your waterproof hiking boots and gaiters because this trail gets muddy.

How to get there:

Follow Palmer-Fishhook/Hatcher Pass Road until Mile 13.7. Take a right into the Gold Mint Trail parking lot.

Bomber Traverse

Distance: 32 miles
Time: 2-3 days
Difficulty: Difficult

Make your way through the backcountry on a hut-to-hut adventure. This trail includes steep, loose boulder and scree slopes, and glaciers.

Experienced hikers should be confident in bouldering, glacier crossings and route finding.

Find a map of Bomber Traverse here.

BONUS HIKE. A fifth hut was recently added allowing experienced hikers or skiers to complete a 50-mile hut-hopping tour.

How to get there:

You can start this trail from either the Reed Lakes or Gold Mint Trail parking areas. Depending on where you start the hike, you should leave another vehicle at the other parking area where you will end your hike.

What’s your favorite hike in Hatcher Pass? Let me know in the comments below.

ultimate hikes in hatcher pass
ultimate hikes in hatcher pass Alaska

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