Flattop Mountain Trail is the most popular hiking trail in Anchorage and from the summit, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the city, the surrounding Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet.
Since I grew up in Anchorage, Flattop was actually the first mountain I ever climbed with my family. I can’t keep count of how many times I’ve hiked this trail since then. But, it’s a lot!
In this post, I’m going to share how to hike Flattop Mountain in Anchorage, Alaska.
Hike Flattop Mountain in Anchorage
Traditional Land: Dena’ina (Visit Native-Land.ca to identify whose land you live, work, and play on.)
Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
Time: 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet
Season: May to October
Dogs: Yes, on leash
- Hike can be accessed from Glen Alps Trailhead and Flattop Sunnyside Trailhead
- Parking costs $5 or you can use an Alaska State Parks pass
- Flattop Sunnyside Trailhead has limited parking
Flattop Mountain Trail Map
Find a Flattop Mountain Trail map here.
How to Get to Flattop Mountain Trailhead in Anchorage
The trailhead for Flattop Mountain is located at Glen Alps Trailhead, about 10 miles from downtown Anchorage.
- From the Seward Highway, take the O’Malley Road exit heading East
- Turn right onto Hillside Drive
- Turn left onto Upper Huffman Road
- Turn right onto Toilsome Hill Drive (turns into Glen Alps Road)
- Continue until you reach the Glen Alps Trailhead parking lot on your left
Toilets are available to use on-site year-round.
How to Get to Flattop Without a Rental Car
If you want to hike Flattop but don’t have your own transportation, you can book a roundtrip transfer with Flattop Mountain Shuttle, which departs from the Downtown Bicycle Rental.
Service runs from May 26 to September 10, departing at 12:15 p.m. and retuning at 4:30 p.m. It costs $25.
Hike Flattop Mountain Trail
Flattop Mountain is the most popular hike in Alaska. It’s not my favorite because of how busy the trail can be but it’s definitely one of the easiest ways to get some amazing views of the city of Anchorage.
A lot of people actually drive up to the Glen Alps Trailhead for views of the city from the Anchorage Overlook, which is also a great place to try and see the Northern Lights!
To give you an idea of how busy this trail is, they built an additional parking lot and it still fills up on most summer days! This is also due to the fact that there are a few other hiking, biking, and skiing trails that also start from then Glen Alps parking lot.
From the Glen Alps Trailhead
You can reach the summit of Flattop Mountain from the Glen Alps Trailhead or via Flattop Sunnyside Trail. However, I’m going to cover hiking Flattop Mountain via the Glen Alps Trailhead.
From the parking lot, you will find the start of the maintained trail just behind the pay station. You’ll turn right and follow the trail as it begins to ascend through a small grove of mountain hemlock.
In a few moments, the trail opens up and you’ll find yourself above the tree line.
Around Blueberry Loop
The next part of the trail is called Blueberry Loop. You can go in either direction around what’s known as Blueberry Hill or Blueberry Knob.
Most of the time I will continue to follow the trail to the left because there is a bit less elevation gain. If you do go right, you’ll enjoy some lovely views!
Once you make it towards the other side of the hill, you’ll notice a sign that leads to the old Flattop Trail. This trail can still be used but it’s not maintained. It’s steep and climbs up a field of talus.
A Thousand Steps
Okay, it’s not really a thousand, but the next section takes you up two sections of wooden steps. After the first section, you’ll find a picnic table overlooking the city below. This is a great place to take a break.
You’ll continue along the trail before reaching the next section of steps. This section of the trail is terrible and definitely could use some maintenance. It’s usually easier to walk on the dirt trail to the side of the steps.
After climbing the steps, you will reach the final saddle. You’ve completed about 2/3 of the trail at this point and only have 1/3 left to go.
The Final Climb
The next part of the hike is a huge talus field full of large boulders that you will need to navigate through. There is a small path that weaves through the field towards the left side before heading back to the right side.
If you can’t see the path, it’s basically a free for all so just choose a way that makes sense or follow those hiking in front of you.
The final stretch near the summit is full-on climbing. This section is steep and requires some rock scrambling… it’s not for the faint of heart.
If you have difficulty climbing up you will definitely have trouble during the descent.
Flattop Mountain Summit
Once you reach the summit of Flattop Mountain, you will see an American flag and a pile of rocks. You can add your own rock to the pile.
The summit of Flattop is completely flat, which is where its name comes from.
Flattop Peak is a 3-mile out-and-back hiking trail and it gains 1,500 feet of elevation along the way. The hike is rated as moderate, but it can be strenuous for some people.
The hike to the summit takes most people about an hour. From the top, you can enjoy views of Anchorage, Cook Inlet, and you can even see Denali Mountain on a clear day.
On the desent you can follow the same route you took up. But you can choose to follow the other way around Blueberry Hill on the way down.
Beyond Flattop Mountain
There are plenty of options to continue beyond Flattop Mountain for a longer day hike. You can continue down the ridge and head towards Peak 2, Peak 3, Peak 4, and Flaketop Peak.
A lot of people tend to underestimate this trail, so please make sure to wear appropriate shoes and wear the right hiking clothes.
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Do you have any questions about hiking Flattop Mountain Trail in Anchorage? Let me know in the comments.