Hike Gold Cord Lake in Hatcher Pass

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

Trail Summary

Traditional Land: Dena’ina (Visit Native-Land.ca to identify whose land you live, work, and play on.)
Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip
Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: 459 feet
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Dogs: Yes

Quick Tips

  • 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:

  1. From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway
  2. Continue towards Wasilla and exit the highway right at Trunk Road
  3. Continue on Trunk Road
  4. Turn left onto Fishhook-Willow Road/N Palmer-Fishhook Road
  5. Continue onto Fishhook-Willow Road/Hatcher Pass Road
  6. 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 to reach the Gold Cord Lake Trailhead.

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? 10 Best 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.

Gold Cord Lake Trail Alaska

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.

Historic Lynch Cabin Hatcher Pass Cabin Alaska

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 Peak Boulder Field

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.

Hatcher Pass Gold Cord Lake Reflection Sunset

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.

Independence Mine Hatcher Pass Alaska

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Hike Gold Cord Lake Trail in Hatcher Pass Alaska. Enjoy a beautiful emerald colored alpine lake on this easy, family-friendly hiking trail in Alaska. #alaskahiking #travelalaska #alaska #hiking

Do you have any questions about hiking to Gold Cord Lake in Hatcher Pass? Leave them in the comments below.

About Andrea Kuuipo

I was born and raised in Anchorage and have been able to travel to many places around Alaska. As an Alaska Travel Blogger, I love sharing my favorite things to see and do in my home state to help others plan an incredible trip!

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