Gold Cord Lake in Hatcher Pass is a scenic trail that leads to an emerald alpine lake nestled in a bowl surrounded by the Talkeetna Mountains.
At a total distance of 1.6 miles roundtrip, Gold Cord Lake is an easy hiking trail in Hatcher Pass.
I love hiking in Hatcher Pass because the drive just to get there is amazing and it makes for a good road trip.
As you hike this trail, you can look back to stunning views of Independence Mine.
In this guide, I’m going to share what you need to know to hike Gold Cord Lake in Hatcher Pass.
Hike Gold Cord Lake in Hatcher Pass
- Paid parking costs $5 USD
- Boulders may be difficult for small children
- Bring a towel
When is the Best Time to Hike Gold Cord Lake?
The best time of the year to hike Gold Cord Lake is June to September. It’s a great trail to hike on a hot summer day. You’ll probably want to jump right in!
How to Get to Gold Cord Lake:
- From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway
- Continue towards Wasilla and exit the highway right at Trunk Road
- Continue on Trunk Road
- Turn left onto Fishhook-Willow Road/N Palmer-Fishhook Road
- Continue onto Fishhook-Willow Road/Hatcher Pass Road
- Turn left to stay on Fishhook-Willow Road/Hatcher Pass Road to Independence Mine
You can park in the Independence Mine State Historical Park parking lot. It costs $5 to park here and the gate opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. You can also park about a mile down the road in the parking lot near the public restrooms for free.
Looking for another hike in Hatcher Pass? 7 Ultimate hikes in Hatcher Pass.
Through the Tundra Valley
The Gold Cord Lake trailhead begins just below the Independence Mine parking lot in Hatcher Pass. The trail is marked with a wooden post.
After you cross over East Fork Fishhook Creek, you will continue on a gravel and dirt trail through the tundra-filled valley.
The tundra is extremely delicate so it’s important to stay on the main trail even though there are lots of small shortcuts that cut through the trail.
There’s also some private property near the trail, which is another reason to stay on the trail.
Up the Switchbacks
You’ll find yourself on a mellow incline as you reach the start of the switchbacks. Here, you’ll also find the Historic Lynch Cabin, which was built by a working family in the 1930s.
You can actually spot the cabin all the way from the road.
Across the Boulder Field
Gold Cord Lake Trail is an easy, family-friendly hike, but just before you reach the lake, there is a section of boulders that may be difficult for small children or anyone that may be pregnant.
It’s okay to take your time here because you are almost to the top!
Gold Cord Lake
Gold Cord Lake sits at an elevation of 3,960 feet. From the trailhead to the end of the maintained trail, there’s an elevation gain of 459 feet.
It only took us 21 minutes to hike the 0.8 miles one-way to reach the lake.
This lake is emerald in color and it’s beautiful! The water is quite cold, but if it’s a hot day out, you’ll be so tempted to take a dip! Don’t forget to bring a towel.
There are plenty of areas to hang out and enjoy a beer or bask in the sunshine.
Viewing Independence Mine
As you head back down the trail, you’ll get a great view of Independence Mine. If you haven’t already stopped here, I definitely recommend checking it out.
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Do you have any questions about hiking to Gold Cord Lake in Hatcher Pass? Leave them in the comments below.