Rent a car and travel independently on a set itinerary, with lodging and tours booked in advance. Stops include Seward (Kenai Fjords), Girdwood, Whittier & Spencer Glacier, Stops include Wasilla, Talkeetna, Denali National Park & Fairbanks. Note the line of old fenceposts visible right below the rainbow–these are a good landmark for when you might consider crossing the valley and heading up McHugh. Take Clark’s Road off of Rabbit Lakes, then follow the Bear Valley switchbacks up to the trailhead. Bear Valley, Anchorage, AK real estate … Car, train, or group tour. … This trailhead is the only designated public access for a vast swath of Chugach State Park … From the top of Point 3,200, follow the crest of the ridge 1.9 miles to the summit of McHugh. Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. From the summit either retrace your steps or drop off the ridge to the south for a cross-country downhill to the McHugh Lake Trail. But while this route adds some thigh-burning it also features more variety than the other routes: it starts in groves of huge cottonwood trees, winds through the brilliantly-colored site of the 2016 McHugh Creek wildfire, and traces the wind-blasted crest of McHugh’s west ridge to the summit of McHugh Peak. Primary International airport. The Rabbit Creek route combines a fast approach, breezy backcountry travel on open tundra and–perhaps best of all–adequate and uncontroversial parking at the Rabbit Lake trailhead. Until access issues there are resolved, use the signed public trailheads to avoid problems. Choose a round-trip Inside passage or one-way Gulf of Alaska Cruise. Ultimately you're responsible for yourself and your group. Brett Frazer hiking back down the McHugh Lake Trail toward the McHugh Creek Trailhead. A draft design showing new parking signs for use in Anchorage’s Bear Valley neighborhood, May 22, 2017. Visit September to April to see the Northern Lights, Best Northern Lights Viewing Spots Near Anchorage, How to Travel to Alaska in January and February, The Best Large Family & Group Vacations in Alaska, How to Get from Anchorage to Your Cruise Port in Whittier or Seward (or the reverse!). This campground is along a scenic meadow near a babbling creek where hiking along the Bear Valley National Recreation Trail is a delightful side trip. Toward the crest of the ridgeline the trail gradually disperses and disappears into loose rock. Starting in the late 1950s McHugh was typically accessed from the Stewart Homestead Road (also called the Stewart Trail), which leads to the peak’s northwest ridge. My time: 2.5 hours, Rabbit Creek routes (East Ridge): ~10 miles round trip, ~2,900 ft. elevation gain. Eklutna, then follow the trail … By the same token, nobody would ever claim that McHugh Peak, which borders south Anchorage at the southwest corner of Chugach State Park, is the “largest” peak in the Chugach. Pine Valley is situated 2 miles northeast of Bear Valley Trailhead… We'll match you with a local itinerary expert to help you plan your trip. The McHugh Creek Route up the west ridge starts nearly at sea level and requires just over 4,300 feet of elevation gain to reach the summit–far more than any other route. Though it is possible to bushwack across the valley toward McHugh at any point, the brush thins substantially in the upper valley and the Rabbit Creek ravine becomes shallower. Description. But if you’re hoping to score a prime parking spot, this trailhead is best tackled on weekdays or in the off-season. However, in 2015 residents Frank and Oksana Pugh erected a large metal gate topped with barbed wire to block public use of the trail. This is the only part of the hike that can feel tedious, though the slogging is tempered by fantastic views up the Rabbit Creek drainage toward Ptarmigan and the Suicides. Black bear hunting in the rest of the Municipality allows only one black bear … Great Hike with lots of blueberries to pick! (Image courtesy Municipality of Anchorage) Hike from the house up Bear Mountain. My time: 6 hours. This is an amazing hike near Anchorage, that provides incredible views of the mountains and lakes without extreme effort. The wind-swept tundra and rocky ridgeline is easy to follow and runs at a relatively shallow angle, though there are two prominent notches during which you’ll lose (and regain) about 150 feet of elevation each time. More…. It's free to go this far by car, and you'll get a picture-perfect shot of Portage Glacier. Follow the trail or strike out and find your own way up to Point 3,200. Here is a little video I put together during my hike of Bear Valley. P roblems with public access have proliferated across Chugach State Park, from the South Fork Eagle River Trailhead to Mt. The Rabbit Lake trail uncoils a little into multiple paths, though it remains easy to follow. Sign-up for any of the following email series to help plan your Alaska trip. 2: Upper O’Malley Trailhead 6: Chuck Albrecht Park 9: Basher Trailhead 13: Russian Jack Park 16: Glen Alps Trailhead 20: Bicentennial Park Smoke Jumper 23: Kincaid Park Chalet 27: Hilltop Ski Area 30: Bear Valley: Meet at Ray E Stork Park May A sign hangs at the Bird Valley trailhead along Alaska’s Turnagain Arm on July 7, 2014, warning people of a recent bear mauling in the area. Alaska Railroad: Adventure Class or Goldstar Dome Car Service? The summit is out of view to the left. Campgrounds, RV Parks & Public Use Cabins. lead to Grizzly Bear Lake & Moraine Pass. The trail sees a steady stream of locals eager to visit the peak towering so dramatically above their community. The north ridge of McHugh Peak. Brett Woelber on the summit of Ptarmigan Peak, with the west ridge of McHugh Peak rising out of the clouds in the background. From the trailhead it beelines up the valley, staying a few hundred feet below brush line and only wobbling slightly as it crosses avalanche runouts. Bear Valley Mountain 2280 State Route 207 PO BOX 5038 Bear Valley, CA 95223 Phone: 1-209-753-2301 fun@bearvalley.com Unfortunately, the most difficult thing about this route is parking: due to questionable city planning the cul-de-sac trailhead only has spots for five cars, parked tightly between two signs. Bear Mountain towers over Mirror Lake in the Peter's Creek area. Getting there: The driving route to the trailhead on the mountain above Peters Creek involves a lot of twists and turns, but it’s quite intuitive once you get started. Bear Valley staff and community remain true to the tradition of providing a solid, well-rounded program that combines the wisdom from our nation's educational past with knowledge of world we know. Hi! First part is pretty steep and tiring, but the ridge line is beautiful. Photo by Eddie Gianelloni. This less developed trail quickly gains elevation through alder thickets then emerges into the alpine which … After about a mile and a half, the McHugh Lake Trail passes the base of a prominent rock and tundra gully with a small trail leading up it. I hope that this site helps you plan exciting and safe trips, but please always keep the information here in context. Luckily, Betsy (a fellow Carolinian who has made Alaska her home) is a great hiking buddy and she took me to a trail I never climbed in Bear Valley – only a 30 minute drive out of Anchorage during rush hour traffic. This ridge is well-traveled and there is an informal trail running along it most of the way. If your car doesn’t have good clearance or if the road is in poor condition, park at the lower parking lot and walk the last few hundred feet to the gate. Turn left (northwest) onto the Turnagain Arm Trail and follow it about a third of a mile to the signed cutoff for the McHugh Lake Trail. Anchorage is Alaska largest city. 7-10 days is the most common. Overwhelmed by choices? McHugh/Bear Valley: A relatively new trailhead in Bear Valley provides access to McHugh Peak’s long ridgelines without driving down to Turnagain Arm, and without climbing from sea level. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Following the Glenn Highway north from Eagle River, take the Peters Creek exit, turning right onto Ski Road. Travel on a set itinerary with lodging and tours booked in advance. I grew up in Alaska and currently live in Anchorage. The weather was incredibly sunny – the second evening of sun after weeks of rain – and would have … About; Getting There; Share It's free to go this far by car, and you'll get a picture-perfect shot of Portage Glacier. Trailhead: Eklutna Lake. Cruises and land tours are great ways to see Alaska. Baldy, Ram Valley, and Glen Alps, but perhaps no location exemplifies the difficulties providing park access as well as the “Honey Bear” trailhead in upper Bear Valley. While the Bear Valley route up McHugh is just an adventurous Class 2, the final few feet to the true summit qualify as Class 4 (light rock climbing). Holding your right hand out in front of you, palm facing away, Anchorage is … After a third of a mile from the parking lot, the trail enters open tundra. that go far beyond anything I can cover here. Bear Valley route (North Ridge): 5.4 miles round trip, 2,300 ft. elevation gain. From the picnic table at the uppermost end of the trail, you’ll find a satisfying panoramic view of the Matanuska River and Knik River valleys. Go off-trail as necessary or desired, but don’t get sidetracked by the many sheep trails cutting horizontally across the mountainside. The Snow Bear retreat boast the best views in Anchorage. My name is Paxson. The North Ridge Route, starting at the Honey Bear Trailhead at the top of Honey Bear Lane in Bear Valley, is a fun Class 2 ridge walk with 2,300 feet of elevation gain and excellent views over Anchorage and across the inlet. In fact, it is arguably the most reliable early-season hike in the Chugach, and is often snow-free long before traditional early-season hikes like Bird Ridge or Wolverine. Around this point the brush gives way to open tundra and cross-country walking becomes simple. The view looking towards Anchorage Alaska during a hike up Bear Valley on September 10th 2018. Whichever route you take, you’ll end up on McHugh’s east ridge. Please check your email to verify your subscription. Trail builders from Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seward, Soldnotna, Eagle River, Matsu Valley, and Girdwood have all been building flow trails through local forests and hills. It has a few outcrops that you may not want or need to climb over, but it’s generally easy to follow and fairly low-angle. Bear Valley Road Runner. Traveling safely in the outdoors requires experience with routefinding, gear selection, emergency response, weather assessment, etc. View listing photos, review sales history, and use our detailed real estate filters to find the perfect place. Looking down the east ridge of McHugh Peak toward Rabbit Lake and the Suicide Peaks. Drive the Seward Highway to the McHugh Creek parking area. Great hike with a bit of rock scrambling at the end that provides great views at the highest point overlooking Anchorage at 5,184'. See Alaska's highlights by railroad or motorcoach in a group of up to 50, Travel in small groups, stay at exclusive wilderness lodges, and spend more time outdoors, All-inclusive multi-day vacation packages at a remote wilderness lodge, Travel with a professional photographer to the best photo locations around the state, Trips range from backpacking, rafting, to upscale remote lodge retreats, Cruises depart Juneau or Sitka. Bear Valley Route (North Ridge) The North Ridge Route, starting at the Honey Bear Trailhead at the top of Honey Bear Lane in Bear Valley, is a fun Class 2 ridge walk with 2,300 feet of elevation gain and excellent views over Anchorage and across the inlet. Please pack out your trash since garbage collection services are not … Self-drive vacations. As soon as the tundra permits easy walking, cut south from the Rabbit Lake Trail, descend into the creek ravine and cross Rabbit Creek. Anchorage Hiking Trails Denali Hiking Trails Seward Hiking Trails Homer Hiking Trails ... Cruises depart from Whittier, a 1 hr drive from Anchorage. My time: 5 hours, McHugh Creek route (West Ridge): 7.8 miles round trip, 4,300 ft. elevation gain. The vast majority of McHugh is long, fairly relaxed Class 2 (hiking, light scrambling) ridgelines, but attaining the true summit requires a very short Class 4 climb up a cluster of large rocks. On the other side, strike out across the open tundra and climb any of the slopes arcing upward toward McHugh Peak. The peak affords some fantastic views of the surrounding area. The creek is generally low and easy to cross. At the signed intersection, cut right/northeast/uphill onto the McHugh Lake Trail. Because it is south-facing in a high-wind area next to the ocean, this route is often fully snow-free as soon as early May. Add these trails to the abundance of incredible cross country and alpine options, and there’s something to satisfy everyone. Song: n u a g e s - … Difficulty: Class 2+s4. Hike the Twin Peaks Trail. The Anchorage Police Department does not consider use of the Stewart Trail to constitute criminal trespass and does not issue citations for use of the trail. Those who park on nearby streets risk tickets from APD, though enforcement is uneven and the legality of the “No Parking” signs and tickets has been questioned. Groups are currently working to restore public access to this route. The dispersed camping area has 6 picnic tables with fire rings, hand pump for drinking water and a vault toilet. After about a mile, turn right on Whaley. ... Bear Valley. The Anchorage Park Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity, to support local parks and trails in partnership with the Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department. I've had a couple inquires … This trailhead lacks the signage and trappings of most Chugach State Park trailheads (including the parking fee! Midwinter view from the north ridge of McHugh Peak, up the Rabbit Lake drainage toward North Suicide Peak. The large deck and huge yard and fire pit all situated to take full advantage of this rare mountain and inlet views. The Rabbit Lake Trail under Ptarmigan Peak. Boutique, small ship adventure cruises in Alaska's Inside Passage, Cruises depart from Whittier, a 1 hr drive from Anchorage. For more about me and winterbear.com, click here. In the winter, experienced outdoorspeople hike its wind-blown ridges and ski on its mellow north and west-facing bowls. Its southeast ridge steps steeply into Turnagain Arm, its north ridge reaches toward the south face of Flattop, and its eastern ridge winds all the way to Rabbit Lake below the Suicide Peaks. To access the Rabbit Creek route, park at the Rabbit Creek Trailhead at the end of Canyon (Upper Hiland) Road. Just follow the ridge west to the summit of McHugh. It’s nowhere near the tallest or most difficult, but by land area it’s a sprawling giant. McHugh is often climbed from one of three public trailheads: the McHugh Creek trailhead off the Seward Highway, the Rabbit Lake trailhead at the top of Canyon Road, or the Bear Valley trailhead at the top of Honey Bear Dr. Map of McHugh Peak, with the three most well-known routes marked. Highlights plus less visited destinations. But there it is at #4–at least, if you’re going by land area alone. The crag is climbed from the north side via an obvious, well-worn route that ascends a steep grassy gully, traverses a few feet to the east and then requires a climb of about 8 feet up the final summit rock. Zillow has 30 homes for sale in Bear Valley Anchorage. The Rabbit Lake Trail is about as exciting as hiking on a road, which is exactly what it used to be. Pine Valley is a community and census-designated place in the Cuyamaca Mountains of the Mountain Empire area, in southeastern San Diego County, California. The neighborhood is a popular access point for Chugach State Park. Let us simplify it for you, How much does an Alaska summer vacation cost? A small parking area near the trailhead on Honey Bear Lane in Bear Valley on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. The northeasatern bowls and ridges of McHugh Peak are wide and there are countless ways to move through them. 26: Bear Valley: Meet at Ray E Stork Park 30: Ruth Arcand Park. Bear Valley from Mapcarta, the free map. Direction to the Golden View Trailhead The trailhead parking lot can hold only 5-6 cars. Full-day adventures can be found at Wheeler Lake and Bull … Difficulty: Class 2s4. Your must-have activity guide + map while in Alaska. From the trailhead, the clearly-signed trail begins at the parking lot and switchbacks through dense alder toward the broad shoulder of McHugh’s north ridge. ... Anchorage. 2-5 day small ship explorations. There are many unofficial trails, game trails, and old inholding trails in this area. Carpooling to the trailhead is highly recommended. To reach the trailhead, drive east on Rabbit Creek Road (this road is the last exit from the Seward Highway as it leaves the south end of Anchorage). More Information. Follow the trail .7 miles straight uphill to the ridgeline. It is a relatively short but steep hike. Partly because it becomes snow-free so early in the season, the McHugh Creek drainage is notorious for bear sightings and encounters. Anchorage local Matias Saari and his trusty husky, Rainy, run a ridge above Bear Valley in the Chugach Mountains. Instantly search and view photos of all homes for sale in Bear Valley, Anchorage, AK now. Trips available from Whittier, Homer, Seward, Juneau, and Sitka. Hikers determined to follow the crest of the ridge may find some adventurous Class 3 scrambling, but steeper sections are generally easily avoided by moving onto the north side of the ridgeline. Matt Bergt chilling on the small summit crown of McHugh Peak. For the most part the Rabbit Creek route is truly a route and not a trail, so it is most appropriate for those with basic routefinding skills and at least a mild sense of adventure. You are under no obligation to speak with anyone on a public easement, and use of a public easement is not trespass. Hotels near Bear Valley, Anchorage on Tripadvisor: Find 18,909 traveler reviews, 20,637 candid photos, and prices for 241 hotels near Bear Valley in Anchorage, AK. Bear Valley is a valley in Alaska and has an elevation of 128 feet. The classic Alaska Cruise, offered by such companies as Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. Some 50 miles north of Anchorage, this 1.5-mile trail makes for a fine family outing. Local favorites for half-day hikes include Bloods Ridge and Inspiration Point. A brown bear killed a 44-year-old hiker deep in the South Fork Eagle River Valley and mauled a member of a search party looking for him on Wednesday, Anchorage police said. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a fantastic opportunity to get excellent photographs of your favorite Alaska wild critters ... Girdwood is known for excellent restaurants … Its western flanks enfold several of South Anchorage’s hillside neighborhoods and don’t flatten out until they reach the New Seward Highway. It requires only a bit more elevation gain than the north ridge route (2550 ft. vs. 2320) and far less than the McHugh Creek route (4,300 ft). Back to top The Anchorage Park Foundation is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer. ), but it is an official parking area. Which one is right for you? This smaller trail switchbacks uphill until it gets above the V-shaped cut bank of McHugh Creek and then parallels the creek all the way back to McHugh and Rabbit Lakes, beneath the Suicide Peaks. When the road bends left after three miles, turn right onto Clarks Road and immediately right again, still following Clarks Road. The City of Anchorage considers the Stewart Trail a public right-of-way and has repeatedly demanded that the Pughs remove the gate, without success. Plan your journey with this gorgeous printed map. Those with experience at a rock gym might wonder what all the fuss is about, but caution would still be wise. Popular Alaska Itineraries Using In-State Airlines, Anchorage to Denali National Park Driving Map, Chugach National Forest Points of Interest. There is certainly exposure, and a fall from the summit rock could be severely injurious or fatal. Penguin Peak Trail: Access: 0.5 mile from Bird Valley Trailhead Allowable Uses: Hiking Length: 2 miles Difficulty: Difficult Elevation Gain: 3200 feet Description: Short but steep. 2-5 day small ship explorations. Well worth it to keep going to the very top so you can see turnagain arm. After reaching the summit, you can either come back down the way you came, or continue along the ridge to Mt. Focus on Denali & Kenai Fjords. There is ample parking here year round for $5 (or an annual State Parks Pass), and the trailhead is located at the end of the uppermost parking lot. Find how many days you need based on what you want to see and do in Alaska. Please try again. This trail is not marked on official maps, but it is nearly as well-defined as the rest of the McHugh Lake Trail itself. The Alaska Railroad is your transportation method. It’s a view as good, or better, than that from many summits. The information I share here is based on my research and limited personal experience. The summit of McHugh Peak in mid-February, with North and South Suicide Peak in the background. If you asked people what the largest cities in the US are, few would guess Anchorage. For more about how the information on this site should be used, please click here. My notes on the summit pinnacle itself are in the Bear Valley route description above. May the Forest Be With You. In 2016, a large wildfire tore throughportions of the McHugh Creek drainage, leaving a striking landscape of brilliantly-colored orange and green mosses between the charred, fire-sculpted trunks of burned trees. Free personal GPS–driven travel guide to Alaska. Make noise, carry bear spray, and follow other best practices for traveling in bear country. Book entire boat for your family or group, or opt to bunk with other guests. The brush on the south side of McHugh is not at all bad by Chugach standards, though the tundra and grasses can be steep and slippery. A black bear explores the roof of a home in Anchorage’s Bear Valley/Facebook The SARS-CoV-2 virus might have upended the world, but in Alaska’s largest city, some things haven’t changed. Majority of the hike is on the ridge, so it is rocky/windy/no shade, but that also means no bugs and incredible views! Though McHugh peak is mostly an alpine walkup, negotiating the bundle of rocks on its summit can be tricky and feels more like rock climbing than hiking. Use our calculator to find out, Stay casual, dress in layers, and get proper footwear, Guides to the best locations around the state to view wildlife. At the last rocky point before the summit, the trail disperses onto a broad face that sweeps up toward McHugh’s craggy crown. At roughly the 2.5 mile mark, the Rabbit Lake trail reaches a high point below Ptarmigan Peak and then begins to descend slightly into the upper valley. Black bear hunting was eliminated in the Eagle River valley, in the Anchorage Bowl (south of Tudor Road), and in adjacent portions of Chugach State Park in 1987. At the ridgeline, views open up north toward downtown Anchorage. The lake is … Follow the large-well-maintained trail about 400 feet until it intersects with the Turnagain Arm Trail. A little over 2 hours to get to the peak from the honey bear lane trailhead. Summer is … The routes marked on my map are really just suggestions, and it’s up to you to find your way through this collection of shallow ridges, rocky outcrops, and tundra slopes. April. Scooting up the mountain from Bear Valley trailhead. While they are fun to explore, unless you know the area well it would probably be fastest to stay on the main trail. Bear Valley: Golden View Trailhead has great access to McHugh Peak, and view from ridge is one of the best view of Anchorage and Chugach mountains. Discover the optimal month due to daylight, temperature, and rain. If you do decide to bypass the gate and are confronted on the Stewart Trail, do not feel pressured to sign any documents or agree to any demands. Difficulty: Class 2+s4. The most intimate multi-day cruise option. Follow the ridgeline 1.5 miles over the top of Ruby (the west summit of McHugh Peak) and then on to the summit of McHugh Peak itself. But all this access can come with a price for visitors. There was a problem with your submission. There is also overflow parking on Honey Bear Lane on a widened stretch of road about two thirds of a mile below the trailhead. This expansiveness and proximity to Anchorage make McHugh an excellent choice for easy day trips, afternoon berry-picking jaunts, long ridge walks, and rocky scrambles. If successful, the signs could be replicated for roads around the Upper South Fork Eagle River Trailhead. 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